Howard Track Star Jessika Gbai Will Represent Ivory Coast In The Olympics

By Derek W. Bryant, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations & Sports Information Howard,

With the 2024 Paris Olympics less than a month away, thousands of athletes have punched their tickets to the hottest summer sporting event of the year. Among those athletes is former Howard University track standout and All-American Jessika Gbai, who will represent the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in this year’s Summer Games.

Gbai won the 200-meter dash at the 2024 African Athletics Championships (June 21-26), clocking in at 22.84, while earning a spot in Paris. She edged out teammate Maboundou Koné (22.99).

In May, both was part of the 4×100 relay team at the 2024 World Relays Championships (May 4-5) in Nassau, Bahamas where they qualified for the Paris Olympics.

Gbai, who attended Central H.S. in Philly, earned numerous accolades during her time at The Mecca. The former walk-on received USTFCCCA All-America First Team with the legendary 4×400 relay squad at the 2022 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Individually, she picked up All-America Second Team honors after finishing 12th in the 200-meter dash.


During the last couple weeks, more than a dozen Bison across four countries in three continents competed in trials but fell just short of reaching Paris. Despite their setbacks, several current and former Bison had solid outings in the quest to be an Olympian.

On the track, former standouts Dylan Beard (Baltimore) and Jessica Wright (Durham, N.C.) and graduate Simone Watkins (Frisco, Texas) made the US Olympic Trials Semifinal Round.

In the pool, recent grad Miles Simon (Atlanta) reached the US Olympic Trials Semifinals, competing in the 50-meter freestyle.

In the Bahamas, the Thompson Family, consisting of Luke-Kennedy Thompson (Nassau, Bahamas), Erald Thompson III (Nassau, Bahamas), Mark-Anthony Thompson (Nassau, Bahamas) and Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson (Nassau, Bahamas), along with Jack Barr (Nassau, Bahamas) and dual-citizen Tristan Stevens (Chicago, Ill) put on outstanding performances with top three finishes in their respective events.


The 2024 Summer Olympics is scheduled for July 26 to Aug. 11 in Paris, France.

About Willie Alex Hines 7149 Articles
A lifelong sports fan and follower of HBCUs, Willie Alexander Hines is an expert on any sport with tremendous recall of history and newsmakers.