Kurt Thomas

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameKurt Bilteaux•Thomas
Used nameKurt•Thomas
Born29 March 1956 in Hollywood, Florida (USA)
Died5 June 2020
Measurements165 cm / 58 kg
AffiliationsIndiana State Sycamores, Terre Haute (USA)
NOC United States


Kurt Thomas attended Indiana State University, one of the greatest athletes ever from that school, along with Larry Bird and Bruce Baumgartner. The United States did not compete at the 1980 Olympics and many athletes’ careers were shattered, but perhaps none more so than Kurt Thomas. Thomas had competed at the 1976 Olympics, and had won a bronze medal in all-around at the 1975 Pan American Games. In the years between 1976-80 he became the greatest American male gymnast to that date, winning a gold medal in floor exercise at the 1978 World Championships. In 1979 he won six medals at the Worlds, including golds on high bar and floor, and silvers in all-around, parallel bars, and pommeled horse. He also won the American Cup in 1978-79, was US all-around champion in 1977-78, and NCAA Champion in 1979 in all-around. Although the 1980 Olympics were in Moskva, and it would have been difficult to defeat the Soviet gymnasts on home soil, notably Aleksandr Dityatin, Thomas was considered a medal favorite in all-around and had a shot at the gold.

After the 1980 Olympics, Thomas tried to continue competing but injuries eventually ended his career. He made a brief attempt at a comeback in 1992 but was unable to overcome his age and the health issues. He went into various ventures, including sports broadcasting of gymnastics events, performed in professional gymnastics shows, and starred in the 1985 movie “Gymkata.” Thomas and his wife later started the Kurt Thomas Gymnastics Training Center in Frisco, Texas.

Thomas won the 1979 Nissen Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate gymnast, and the 1979 Sullivan Award, given to the nation’s premier amateur athlete. He is a member of the US Gymnastics Hall of Fame (1990), the Indiana State University Athletic Hall of Fame (1999), and in 2003 was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. In gymnastics he is perhaps best remember for the Thomas Flair, a pommeled horse move that he developed and perfected.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1976 Summer Olympics Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics) USA Kurt Thomas
Individual All-Around, Men (Olympic) 21
Team All-Around, Men (Olympic) United States 7
Floor Exercise, Men (Olympic) =22 r1/1
Horse Vault, Men (Olympic) =86 r1/1
Parallel Bars, Men (Olympic) =21 r1/2
Horizontal Bar, Men (Olympic) =25 r1/1
Rings, Men (Olympic) =51 r1/1
Pommelled Horse, Men (Olympic) 16 r1/1

Special Notes