Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images English Gardner in 2016
English Gardner and her relay team sailed around the track at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday after easily qualifying in their women's 4x100m heat.
The U.S. women — Gardner, Teahna Daniels, Aleia Hobbs and Javianne Oliver — came in second in the relay with a time of 41.90 seconds, just behind Great Britain, who finished in 41.55.
Speaking to reporters afterward, Gardner, who was part of the team that won the gold medal in the event at the 2016 Rio Games, said, "It's nothing short of a miracle that I'm here."
JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images Team USA competes in the 4x100m women's relay
In April, Gardner battled COVID-19, a rough bout that she previously said included muscle cramps, leg pain, headaches, full-body rashes, and respiratory issues, USA Today reported. During a June press conference at the U.S. track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon, Gardner said she was sidelined for about a month by the virus, which had her heart rate staying at 100 bpm for hours after physical exertion.
On Thursday, she said she was competing at "less than half" of her normal capabilities during the trials as she was "just coming out" of being sick.
"My heart has gotten much better," Gardner explained. "Since the U.S. trails I got an EKG, everything's cool, so we're all good."
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The athlete thanked the support of her "girls," and said that aside from the "dry and thick" air — with temperatures in the mid-90s — her ongoing COVID-19 issues have "not been affecting too much of my runs."
"We're just gonna get out there, ignore the noise," Gardner assured.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.