Kurt Thomas, world champion gymnast, dead from stroke at 64

Kurt Thomas, world champion gymnast, dead from stroke at 64
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Kurt Thomas, who helped lead the 1978 U.S. gymnastics team to its first U.S. World Championships gold medal, has died at the age of 64.
Thomas died Friday, two weeks after suffering a severe stroke, reported International Gymnast Media on Saturday.
The three-time American Cup gold medalist, best known for his pommel horse move the Thomas flair and Thomas salto maneuver for floor exercise, also starred in the 1985 martial arts thriller “Gymkata.”

“All of us in the gymnastics family are (saddened), shocked and devastated by the passing our our own,” tweeted 1976 Olympic gold-medalist Nadia Comaneci. “Love to the family. RIP Kurt Thomas.”

When Jimmy Carter announced that America would be boycotting the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, Thomas — who at the time was training 50 hours a week — felt betrayed by the decision.
“But I did not take a stand against our country, against our president,” Thomas told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel in 1989. “For one thing, I didn’t think the athletes who were badmouthing the president were getting anywhere with it.”
Thomas was an analyst for ABC during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and at the age of 36, he attempted a comeback for the 1992 Barcelona Games but failed to qualify, according to International Gymnast Media.
He was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2003.
“I am completely devastated to hear this,” said former Olympic teammate Bart Conner. “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.”

 

Source: nydailynews.

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