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Olympic athlete

Born: March 29, 1956, Miami, Florida, United States

Died: June 5, 2020

Height: 1.65 m

Spouse: Rebecca Jones (m. 1996)

Movies: Gymkata

Children: Kurt Travis

Kurt Bilteaux Thomas was an American Olympic gymnast.

He was the first American male gymnast to win a gold medal at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships (World Championships), doing so in 1978.

One year later, he set the record for most medals won at a single worlds by an American gymnast with six, a feat matched only by Simone Biles in 2018.

Despite this success, his only Olympic appearance came in 1976.

He was unable to compete at the 1980 Summer Olympics, where he was the favorite to win gold, due to his nation’s boycott of those Games.

He was subsequently barred from competing at the Olympics four years later because he had turned professional.

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In 1996, Thomas married Rebecca Jones, a dancer who also choreographs gymnastic routines.

Together, they have two children: Hunter and Kassidy. Thomas also had a son from a previous marriage, Kurt Travis.

Thomas and his wife ran the Kurt Thomas Gymnastics Training Center in Frisco, Texas.

Since 2003 their gym has hosted the annual Kurt Thomas International Invitational gymnastics meet, a competition endorsed by the USA Gymnastics.

Thomas was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2003.

He was also inducted into three other domestic halls of fame – USA Gymnastics in 1990, the Indiana State University Athletic in 1999, and the Missouri Valley Conference in 2010.

Thomas died on June 5, 2020, at the age of 64.

He suffered a stroke on May 24, two weeks before his death, brought about by a tear of the basilar artery in the brain stem.