Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Sport https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Former world gymnastics champion Kurt Thomas dies at age 64

Former world gymnastics champion Kurt Thomas dies at age 64

Kurt Thomas, the first American male gymnast to win a World Cup gold medal, has died. He was 64 years old.

Thomas’ family said he died Friday. He suffered a stroke on May 24 caused by a tear in the basilar artery of the brainstem.

“Yesterday I lost my universe, my best friend and my soulmate of 24 years. Kurt lived his life to the fullest and I will forever be honored to be his wife, ”Beckie Thomas told International Gymnast Magazine.

After competing at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Thomas won the word practice at the 1

978 World Cups in Strasbourg, France, for the first U.S. men’s title. In the 1979 Worlds of Fort Worth, he successfully defended the word on the training floor, winning the horizontal bar while adding silver in the all-round, pommel horse and parallel bars.

Thomas. who also captured the American Cup three times, lost a chance for Olympic gold when the United States boycotted the Moscow Games of 1980.

“In my mind and my heart, I knew I was the best at the time,” Thomas told the South Florida Sun Sentinel in 1989.

Thomas brought a mix of athletics and showmanship that the elite American men’s program lacked. He starred at Indiana State and led Sycamores to an NCAA team title in 1977. At that time, his popularity on campus was only number two in future basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird. Thomas won the AAU’s James E. Sullivan Award from 1979 as the nation’s best amateur and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2003.

“Kurt was a fierce rival who went on to become a beloved friend,” two-time Olympic gold medalist Bart Conner posted on Twitter. “Proud to have been your teammate. Sending hugs to his wife Beckie, his children, Hunter, Kassidy and Kurt as well as the entire gymnastics community, who lost a true pioneer today. ”

Thomas withdrew from the competition after 1980 and starred in the 1985 movie “Gymkata” and worked as a TV commentator. He attempted a comeback in 1989 and pointed to the 1992 Olympics. He came all the way to the Olympic trials at the age of 36, but did not earn one of the six Olympic places. He poured his life into coaching after retirement. He and Beckie owned and operated the Kurt Thomas Gymnastics in Frisco, Texas.

American men had struggled to break through internationally before Thomas’s arrival. He was an innovator on the pommel horse – where “Thomas Flair” was introduced into the Code – and the floor exercise where his “Thomas Salto” mounting was considered so dangerous that it was eventually banned from competition.

Thomas, who regularly appeared on talk shows in the evenings in the 1970s, was the first pioneering American male star in a sport whose limelight loads heavily against women.

“All of us in the gymnastics family are sad, shocked, and devastated by our own passing away,” Nadia Comaneci tweeted. “Love for the family.”

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