John Thomas (athlete)

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John Thomas, 1960

John Curtis Thomas (born March 3, 1941 in Boston , Massachusetts - † January 15, 2013 ) was an American track and field athlete . With a height of 196 cm, his competition weight was 88 kg.

The world record in high jump since 1957 stood at 2.16 meters, jumped by Yuri Stepanow (USSR).

John Thomas had already jumped 1.86 meters at the age of 16, and in 1958 he jumped 2.10 meters in Japan. On February 21, 1959, he set an unofficial indoor world record in New York City with 2,165. Because of an injury, he could hardly start in the 1959 outdoor season. In the 1960 indoor season, he increased the indoor performance four times to 2.195 on March 11th in Chicago.

On April 30, 1960, he set his first outdoor world record with 2.17 meters. He stopped this service on May 21 in Cambridge. On June 24th at the championship of the Amateur Athletic Union Thomas rose to 2.18 meters. And a week later, on July 1st, at the US Trials in Palo Alto, he first crossed 2,195 meters and then increased to 2.22 meters. Actually, the height was even 2.232 meters, but for technical reasons only 2.22 meters were recognized as a world record, because according to American competition regulations it should only have been increased to 2.229 meters (increase only in quarter of an inch). Even so, John Thomas was the clear favorite for the Rome Olympics .

In Rome he experienced a great disappointment when he failed at 2.16 meters and only won bronze. Robert Schawlakadse won gold with 2.16 meters ahead of 18-year-old Valeri Brumel , both of the Soviet Union.

This Waleri Brumel took the world record from John Thomas in 1961 and increased the world record to 2.28 meters by 1963. In the world record of 2.26 meters in 1962, John Thomas was in the competition, but jumped only 2.08 meters in fourth.

At the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964, Brumel was now the clear favorite. In the final, the regained strength John Thomas was his main opponent. Both jumped 2.18 meters. Because of two more failed attempts, John Thomas received the silver medal behind Brumel.


  • Manfred Holzhausen: world records and world record holder - high jump / long jump , Grevenbroich 1999
  • Ekkehard zur Megede: The Modern Olympic Century 1896-1996 Track and Fields Athletics , Berlin 1999, published by the German Society for Athletics Documentation eV

Individual evidence

  1. Brett Hoover: Millrose Legend John Thomas Passes. (No longer available online.) Armory Track, January 16, 2013, archived from the original on January 20, 2013 ; accessed on January 17, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /