RIP John Thomas, 71


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RIP John Thomas, 71

Postby gh » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:49 am

Don't have a linkable source yet, but apparently history's first indoor 7-foot high jumper died yesterday at 71.

One of the nicest guys I ever met in the sport.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby cullman » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:26 am

Bummer, bummer. John Thomas seemed to be a mythical figure in the sports media (and in our household) during 1959-61. Sport magazine had feature articles on him back in the day. RIP.

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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby DoubleRBar » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:43 am

Very sad to hear about John Thomas. He and Ralph Boston were two big stars that really peaked my interest in track and field. I was lucky enough to meet both men and both athletes were tremendous people. Of course Ralph is still alive and living in Georgia.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby Per Andersen » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:19 pm

Sad day.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby highjumpfan » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:50 pm

Indeed a sad day. I first met Mr. Thomas at the Loucks games in 1990. he was officiating the the high jump and presented me with the trophy for winning. I remember thinking how old he was. Turns out he was only 49. Who knew. Very nice man. Years later I met him again at the Millrose games. I introduced myself and he remembered me. It was quite a thrill.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby measurer » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:09 pm

A very sad day.
John was always a gentlemen.
I had the pleasure of working closely with John for several decades in Madison Square Garden.
He was a giant of a man in some many ways.
RIP John, we will miss you.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:52 pm

I remember, like it was yesterday, being at The Garden in 1959 at the AAU's and seeing him leap the highest ever, indoors or out, with a 7' 1 1/4" .
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby no one » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Thomas v Brumel on Wide World - did it get any better. Maybe Boston v Tero. Always anticipated something big
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John Thomas

Postby meatball » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:46 pm

RIP john one of the best high jumpers of his era and the 1st to go 7' indoors, although he lost his most epic battles to Brumel he was always a classy competitor.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby jhc68 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:59 pm

Thomas' 7'3.75" off the grass at Stanford in the '60 OT was epic. And with Joe Faust in3rd place becoming the youngest ever to jump 7 feet it was a landmark afternoon for the event.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby paw » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:15 am

Footage of John Thomas' best ever jump:

1960-OT Palo Alto, July 1 –HJ John Thomas 2.229wr – July 2 - PV Don Bragg 4.80wr
http://www.t3licensing.com/video/clip/4 ... c%20trials

P.S. in his HISTORY OF TH OLYMPIC TRIALS, Richard Hymans writes:
"In ratification of his WR, Thomas lost a centimeter in a bizarre piece of statistical bureaucracy. His jump of 7'3 7/8" was 2.2322m but was rounded down to the nearest 1/4" - i.e. 7'3 3/4" = 2.229. The 2.229 was then rounded down to 2.22m the nearest whole cm downwards!"

by the way Joe Faust got second in the trials with 2.134, before Charlie Dumas in third with 2.108.

John Thomas said after the meet in Palo Alto (or Standford):
"That's the first time I ever jumped on grass. I like it. It feels sort of cushiony." (All five grass runways underwent loving care. Ten months ago they were cut very short and 1 ½" of clay packed on top. The clay was broken up, rolled, and a special fertilization program produced a strong grass, a firm but cushiony surface and a fast level runway. No workouts were permitted before the meet)
[Bert Nelson in T&FN, July, 1960]


After the Olympics in Rome John Thomas nearly set a new World Record at a meeting in Dublin:
from T&FN Oct 1960 'Americans in Europe': "after clearing 7'2" (2.184) he mastered 7'4" (2.235) but knocked down the bar with his knee".
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Re: RIP John Thomas, 71

Postby KDFINE » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:05 am

The print version of N.Y. Times surprisingly has yet to run an obituary. I don't know if they had one on-line. An inexcusable omission.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby dukehjsteve » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:39 am

P.S. in his HISTORY OF TH OLYMPIC TRIALS, Richard Hymans writes:
"In ratification of his WR, Thomas lost a centimeter in a bizarre piece of statistical bureaucracy. His jump of 7'3 7/8" was 2.2322m but was rounded down to the nearest 1/4" - i.e. 7'3 3/4" = 2.229. The 2.229 was then rounded down to 2.22m the nearest whole cm downwards!"



All this because the idiots running the meet did not have a metric measuring device ??!!
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby Per Andersen » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:34 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:I remember, like it was yesterday, being at The Garden in 1959 at the AAU's and seeing him leap the highest ever, indoors or out, with a 7' 1 1/4" .

Oh yes, I loved that result exactly because it was higher than Stepanov's 2.16 (Thomas' metric result measured 2.16.5)
I never bought Stepanov's record. Unbelievable when they banned his built-up shoe and still ratified the 2.16 as WR.
But Thomas in May thru July 1st 1960 :D Nobody ever had 2 months like that. Then the saddest thing, the pictures of him walking around lost and cold in no sweats watching the Soviets out jump him in Rome.
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Re: RIP John Thomas, 71

Postby KDFINE » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:19 am

Today's (Tuesday 1/22) N.Y. Times finally ran an obituary.
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Re: RIP John Thomas, 71

Postby gh » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:41 am

SF Chron finally did short one today.... guessing they must take their lead from the NYT on things like this.
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Re: RIP John Thomas?

Postby user4 » Mon May 13, 2013 8:35 am

dukehjsteve wrote:P.S. in his HISTORY OF TH OLYMPIC TRIALS, Richard Hymans writes:
"In ratification of his WR, Thomas lost a centimeter in a bizarre piece of statistical bureaucracy. His jump of 7'3 7/8" was 2.2322m but was rounded down to the nearest 1/4" - i.e. 7'3 3/4" = 2.229. The 2.229 was then rounded down to 2.22m the nearest whole cm downwards!"



All this because the idiots running the meet did not have a metric measuring device ??!!


That is outrageous.
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