Gordon “Tiny” Thomas served in North Africa and Italy with the Royal Artillery during World War Two and, whilst stationed in Italy, became friendly with Italian champion Olimpio Bizzi. Inspired by his experiences he returned to cycle racing after arriving back England and gained a reputation as someone who could put in a sprint finish at the end of a long race. It was this attribute that helped him gain a place at the 1948 Summer Olympics. At the Games Thomas was part of an eight man breakaway that gained over three minutes on the peloton, but his hopes were thwarted on a final short climb near the finish and he placed eighth. This was good enough, however, to earn a silver medal in the team event. Thomas later had a short professional career with the BSA team that culminated in an overall victory at the 1953 Tour of Britain. He retired after the 1953 season and entered the wool trade. His nickname “Tiny” stuck with him since he began competing as a 12 year old against older children.