Kurt Thomas, the first U.S. male gymnast to raise a world championship gold medal, has died. He became 64.
Thomas’ family stated he died Friday. He had a stroke Could well furthermore simply 24, attributable to a sprint of the basilar artery within the mind stem.
“The day before this day, I misplaced my universe, my simplest buddy and my soulmate of 24 years. Kurt lived his life to the vulgar, and I shall be perpetually honored to be his wife,” Beckie Thomas advised Global Gymnast Journal.
After competing within the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Thomas won the bottom yelp within the 1978 world championships in Strasbourg, France, for the first U.S. men’s title. Within the 1979 worlds in Castle Price, Texas, he successfully defended the bottom yelp title and won the horizontal bar whereas adding silver within the all-spherical, pommel horse and parallel bars.
Thomas. who also captured the American Cup thrice, misplaced an opportunity for Olympic gold when the US boycotted the 1980 Moscow Video games.
“In my suggestions and my coronary heart, I knew I became potentially one of the top for the time being,” Thomas advised the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 1989.
Thomas introduced a mixture of athleticism and showmanship the elite U.S. men’s program lacked. He starred at Indiana Instruct and led the Sycamores to an NCAA team title in 1977. His popularity on campus on the time ranked 2nd most attention-grabbing to future basketball Hall of Famer Larry Chicken. Thomas won the AAU’s 1979 James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s top newbie and became inducted into the Global Gymnastics Hall of Repute in 2003.
“Kurt became a fierce rival, who went on to change into a cherished buddy,” two-time Olympic gold medalist Bart Conner posted on Twitter. “Proud to had been your teammate. Sending hugs to his wife Beckie, his younger folks, Hunter, Kassidy and Kurt to boot as the whole gymnastics neighborhood, who misplaced a ethical pioneer this day.”
Thomas stepped away competition after 1980 and starred within the 1985 movie “Gymkata” and labored as a tv commentator. He attempted a comeback in 1989, pointing against the 1992 Olympics. He made it the whole technique to the Olympic Trials at age 36 nonetheless fell attempting earning among the six Olympic spots. He poured his life into educating after retirement. He and Beckie owned and ran Kurt Thomas Gymnastics in Frisco, Texas.
American men had struggled to interrupt thru internationally sooner than Thomas’ arrival. He became an innovator on pommel horse — where the “Thomas Aptitude” became entered into the Code of Ingredients — and the bottom yelp, where his “Thomas Salto” dismount became realizing of so perilous it became by some means banned from competition.
Thomas, who appeared ceaselessly on slack night discuss shows within the 1970s, became the first leap forward American male superstar in a sport where the highlight gravitates heavily against ladies.
“All of us within the gymnastics family are sadden, unnerved and devastated by the passing of our possess,” Nadia Comaneci tweeted. “Cherish to the family.”