Kurt Thomas, the primary U.S. male gymnast to win a world championship gold medal, has died. He was 64.
Thomas’ household stated he died Friday. He had a stroke Could 24, brought on by a tear of the basilar artery within the mind stem.
”Yesterday, I misplaced my universe, my finest good friend and my soulmate of 24 years. Kurt lived his life to the acute, and I will probably be endlessly honored to be his spouse,” Beckie Thomas informed Worldwide Gymnast Journal.
After competing within the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Thomas received the ground train within the 1978 world championships in Strasbourg, France, for the primary U.S. males’s title. Within the 1979 worlds in Fort Value, Texas, he efficiently defended the ground train title and received the horizontal bar whereas including silver within the all-around, pommel horse and parallel bars.
Thomas. who additionally captured the American Cup 3 times, misplaced an opportunity for Olympic gold when the USA boycotted the 1980 Moscow Video games.
”In my thoughts and my coronary heart, I knew I used to be one of the best at the moment,” Thomas informed the South Florida Solar-Sentinel in 1989.
Thomas introduced a combination of athleticism and showmanship the elite U.S. males’s program lacked. He starred at Indiana State and led the Sycamores to an NCAA crew title in 1977. His reputation on campus on the time ranked second solely to future basketball Corridor of Famer Larry Fowl. Thomas received the AAU’s 1979 James E. Sullivan Award because the nation’s prime newbie and was inducted into the Worldwide Gymnastics Corridor of Fame in 2003.
”Kurt was a fierce rival, who went on to turn out to be a cherished good friend,” two-time Olympic gold medalist Bart Conner posted on Twitter. ”Proud to have been your teammate. Sending hugs to his spouse Beckie, his youngsters, Hunter, Kassidy and Kurt in addition to all the gymnastics neighborhood, who misplaced a real pioneer at present.”
Thomas stepped away competitors after 1980 and starred within the 1985 film ”Gymkata” and labored as a tv commentator. He tried a comeback in 1989, pointing towards the 1992 Olympics. He made all of it the best way to the Olympic Trials at age 36 however fell wanting incomes one of many six Olympic spots. He poured his life into teaching after retirement. He and Beckie owned and ran Kurt Thomas Gymnastics in Frisco, Texas.
American males had struggled to interrupt by means of internationally earlier than Thomas’ arrival. He was an innovator on pommel horse – the place the ”Thomas Aptitude” was entered into the Code of Factors – and the ground train, the place his ”Thomas Salto” dismount was thought of so harmful it was ultimately banned from competitors.
Thomas, who appeared commonly on late night time discuss reveals within the 1970s, was the primary breakthrough American male star in a sport the place the highlight gravitates closely towards ladies.
”All of us within the gymnastics household are sadden, shocked and devastated by the passing of our personal,” Nadia Comaneci tweeted. ”Like to the household.”
— to sports.yahoo.com