Kurt Thomas Wiki – Biography
Kurt Thomas was a former Olympic gymnast known for being the first American male gymnast to win a world championship gold medal, according to Yahoo Sports. He went on to become a sought-after star once he retired from the sport.
Thomas was successful in the Junior Olympic program and he received a scholarship at Indiana State University, where he earned 13 All-American honors, International Gymnast Media reported. Thomas competed in the 1975 Pan American Games as a member of the U.S. team and he went on to compete in the 1976 Olympics.
Thomas really shined at the 1978 and 1979 world championships, International Gymnast Media reported. At the 1978 world championships in Strasbourg, France, Thomas became the first American to win a world championship gold medal with his floor exercise routine. In all, he won a total of eight world medals, three of which were gold at both the 1978 and 1979 world championships. In 1979, he won the James E. Sullivan Award.
During the 1980 Olympic boycott, Thomas took a break from amateur sports and became a professional, the Philadelphia Daily News reported. During that time, he wrote his book and became an assistant gym coach at Arizona State University. Thomas seemed to enjoy the break from Olympic training and told the Chicago Tribune, “‘I’m running around like crazy, and it just started,’ he says with a small grin.”
He attempted to come back to the Olympics in 1992 and qualified for the trials at the age of 36, yet did not make the team, International Gymnast Media reported, and that same year, he was eventually inducted into the Indian State University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2003, he was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Thomas was well-known for bringing a certain “flair” to his routines and especially his pommel horse and floor exercise routines. That led to the “Thomas flair” being adopted as a technique on the pommel horse, Vault reported. The flair involved, “in the midst of what looks like a typical routine, Thomas suddenly flies into a series of whirling midair leg scissors, as if blown around the horse by a giant fan.”
The “Thomas salto” was also named after Thomas. It was a move that involved multiple somersaults and at the end of the sequence, a half-somersault and roll-out. This move was banned for women after several injured themselves attempting the move, including Elene Mukhina who under-rotated, landed on her chin, and snapped her spine, leaving her a quadriplegic. It was also banned for both men and women in 2017.
Kurt Thomas Age
Kurt Thomas was 64 years old. He was born on March 29, 1956, in Miami, Florida, United States. He died on June 5, 2020.
Kurt Thomas was married to his wife Rebecca Jones in 1996.
The couple had one child Kurt Travis.
Cause of Death
Kurt became a commentator, acted in a film, and opened his own gymnastics school, according to Screencrush. Thomas suffered a stroke in late May and died June 5, the website reported.
Thomas’ family said that Thomas had a stroke May 24 after the basilar artery in his brain stem tore, the Chicago Tribune reported. He died on June 5 at the age of 64.
“Yesterday I lost my universe, my best friend, and my soul mate of twenty-four years. Kurt lived his life to the extreme, and I will be forever honored to be his wife,” his wife told the International Gymnast Media.
Thomas was survived by Kurt Travis, a child from his first marriage, as well as his wife and their two children, Kassidy and Hunter Thomas.
Many gymnastics colleagues, rivals, and legends have also honored Thomas and mourned his passing on social media.
All of us in the gymnastics family are sadden ,shocked and devastated by the passing of our own
Love to the family ❤️🙏
RIP Kurt Thomas pic.twitter.com/muhQ8MUJJc
— Nadia Comaneci (@nadiacomaneci10) June 6, 2020
Thomas’ Olympic teammate Bart Conner told the International Gymnast Media that he was devastated:
“Kurt was a fierce rival, who went on to become a cherished friend. My heart is breaking for his wife Beckie, his children, Hunter, Kassidy, and Kurt as well as the entire gymnastics community, who lost a true pioneer today.”
Kurt Thomas’s net worth is under review.