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Gymnastics – 1974 – ABCs Jim McKay Remembers USA Kirk Thomas Becoming 1st American To Win World Gold


Kurt Bilteaux Thomas (born March 29, 1956) is an American Olympic gymnast….who earned All American honors 13 time in his career….along with being the James E. Sullivan Award winner in 1979….as well as the 1979 Nissen Award as the best gymnast in the USA.  Thomas became a member of the 1979 Montreal Games US Olympic team….and was the first American male gymnast to win a gold medal in the World Championships in the floor exercise….as remembered in this video seen herewith. Kurt Thomas earned six medals at the World Championship throughout his career….including gold on the horizontal bar and floor exercise…..and silver in the all-around parellel bars and pommel horse.   

Two gymnastic moves were named for him….the Thomas Flair….which was a pommel horse move….and the Thomas Salto….which was his signature skill on floor exercise….where he performs a tucked 1.5 backward salto with 1.5 twist into a roll out….which is a difficult and dangerous skill even by today’s standards. The Thomas Flair on pommel horse….and then also performed on floor….was developed over years by several pommel horse specialists….however, in gymnastics, new moves are named in the gymnastics rule book after the gymnast who is the first to perform the move in international competition.

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