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#pounditMonday, August 15, 2022

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Gymnastics world mourns death of Kurt Thomas, first US male gymnast to win world championship gold medal

Kurt Thomas

The gymnastics world is mourning the death of Kurt Thomas, who was the first U.S. male gymnast to win a world championship gold medal.

Thomas died at the age of 64 on Saturday, nearly two weeks after suffering a stroke on May 24 caused by a tear of the basilar artery in the brain stem, according to the AP.

“Yesterday, I lost my universe, my best friend and my soulmate of 24 years. Kurt lived his life to the extreme, and I will be forever honored to be his wife,” Beckie Thomas told International Gymnast Magazine.

Thomas was born in Miami and went to college at Indiana State, where he was a five-time NCAA champion and led them to the 1977 national championship. He went on to compete on an international stage, representing the U.S. at the 1976 Summer Olympics. In 1978, he won gold in the floor exercise at the world championships, becoming the first U.S. male gymnast to do so. Thomas won gold again in the floor exercise at the 1979 world championship and added gold in the horizontal bar that year too.

Thomas won three gold medals, three silvers, and two bronzes at the world championships during his gymnastics career; two silvers and two bronzes at the Pan American Games; and three golds in the American Cup.

Thomas was the pioneer of the famous “Thomas Flair” move on the pommel horse and the “Thomas salto” in the floor exercise. He also starred in the 1985 movie “Gymkata.”

Here are some of the tributes he received online from those in the gymnastics community:

Lance Armstrong not sure if his PED use caused his cancer

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong recently offered an interesting answer about whether his performance-enhancing drug use caused his cancer.

Armstrong is the subject of a new documentary called “Lance” that is being aired by ESPN. In the documentary, Armstrong is asked whether he thinks he got cancer from his doping.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Armstrong answered. “And I don’t want to say no because I don’t think that’s right, either. I don’t know if it’s yes or no, but I certainly wouldn’t say no.

“The only thing I will tell you is the only time in my life that I ever did growth hormone was the 1996 season [before being diagnosed with moderate to advanced cancer in October 1996]. So just in my head, I’m like, ‘growth, growing, hormones and cells.’ Like, if anything good needs to be grown, it does. But wouldn’t it make sense that if anything bad is there, that it, too, would grow?”

Armstrong began training with controversial trainer Michele Ferrari in late 1995, and that’s when he began using erythropoetin (EPO), which increases red blood cells. A former teammate says Armstrong told a doctor in 1996 that he used growth hormone, cortisone, EPO, steroids and testosterone.”

Armstrong was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer in October 1996. By the time doctors examined him, they found out the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, lungs, brain, and abdomen. Armstrong underwent surgery and chemotherapy to remove and treat the cancer. By February 1997, he was declared cancer-free.

Armstrong resumed his professional cycling career and later won seven straight Tour de Frances from 1999-2005.

The answer from Armstrong is quite notable. Back in 2013, when he first finally publicly admitted to doping on Oprah, Lance said he did not think his PED use caused his cancer. Now he either has changed his mind or is being more honest with himself and the public.

Lance Armstrong investigator shares why he was not involved in documentary

Lance Armstrong

ESPN has followed its success with “The Last Dance” documentary series on Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls by airing a two-part documentary on Lance Armstrong. The documentary, directed by Marina Zenovich, examines the rise and fall of Armstrong.

Jeff Novitzky played a role in investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Armstrong’s cycling teams but did not participate in the documentary. Novitzky told The Athletic’s Greg Rosenstein that he turned down the chance to help the documentary because Armstrong was involved.

Novitzky is 52 and became known for leading the IRS’ BALCO investigation that blew the lid on the use of steroids by Barry Bonds and other athletes, like Jason Giambi, Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Bill Romanowski. He later got involved in the Armstrong case and helped bring down the cyclist, who lied for years about being clean.

Novitzky now works for the UFC as the Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance.

Video: The Mountain from ‘Game of Thrones’ sets world deadlift record

Hafthor Bjornsson

The beast known as “The Mountain” from “Game of Thrones” is every bit as strong as he looks.

Hafthor Bjornsson set a world record on Saturday by deadlifting 1,104 pounds. Take a look at this incredible feat.

Bjornsson, who first deadlifted 1,025 pounds before moving up in weight, says he could have done even more!

Bjornsson’s 501kg deadlift attempt was set to take place at the 2020 World’s Ultimate Strongman in Bahrain, but that event was canceled. Instead, World’s Ultimate Strongman partnered with ESPN and televised Bjornsson’s lifting attempt from Reykjavik, Iceland, where The Mountain is from.

“It’s an honor to be able to help bring the sport of strongman forward during such unsure and unprecedented times,” Bjornsson previously said.

In addition to weightlifting, Bjornsson is a former basketball player and has had a few acting credits beyond his regular role on “Game of Thrones.”

This ESPN 30 for 30 mock promo of Michael Scott playing basketball is fantastic

Michael Scott basketball

On the eve when ESPN released the highly-anticipated “The Last Dance” documentary, it was a surprising “Michael” who stole the show on social media.

ESPN’s 30 for 30 Twitter account tweeted a mock promo for a documentary about Michael Scott, who played the legendary boss in “The Office.” The clip shows Michael’s clumsy attempts to play basketball in episode 5 of season 1 of the show.

They’re right: the greatest Michael wasn’t Jordan. It was Michael Scott.

Too bad Michael Scott never learned the real lesson: don’t sleep on Kevin on the basketball court. His jumper is nice.

Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is no longer only affecting humans.

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for COVID-19, National Geographic’s Natasha Daly reports. The tiger is believed to be the first known animal in the United States to test positive for the coronavirus, and several other animals at the zoo have been showing symptoms.

New York has been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other region of the U.S. New York had more than 122,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Sunday afternoon, which accounts for roughly one-third of the cases in the entire country.

There have been studies that suggest cats can contract COVID-19, and tigers and lions are obviously part of that family. Research is still limited, but Sunday’s development is a new type of concern related to the disease.

Larry David shares perfect video message encouraging people to stay at home

Larry David Curb

Larry David recorded an absolutely perfect video message that was shared through the California governor’s Twitter account on Tuesday.

In the message, the “Seinfeld” creator and star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” encouraged people to stay at home and watch TV.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt for David to encourage people to stay at home and watch TV during a time when the newest season of his show is available on HBO, but that doesn’t mean his message isn’t a good one.

And California really couldn’t have gotten a more perfect character for that message. This is exactly who LD is in the show.

Shannon Sharpe gets funny Joe Exotic photoshop

Shannon Sharpe Joe Exotic

The central figure of Netflix documentary “Tiger King” is a guy by the alias of Joe Exotic, who has lit the internet on fire. Joe Exotic is all over the place on social media and in the memes, and he even appeared on Shannon Sharpe’s Twitter account.

Sharpe shared a tweet Sunday that had his face Photoshopped to make him look like Joe Exotic.

That photo is great, and we really want to see Sharpe dress up to look like that. It’s on you to make it happen now, Shannon.

As for Joe Exotic, he is known for his bleached-blond mullet, earrings, tattoos, and incredible ability to entertain. Unfortunately, Exotic (real name Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage) is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence.

Britt McHenry shares photo from post brain surgery

Britt McHenry is recovering from brain surgery she underwent earlier this month and shared a photo of her progress.

The former ESPN reporter shared a photo she took after having switches removed following her surgery.

McHenry, who became a political pundit after losing her job with ESPN in 2017, disclosed in late February that she had a brain tumor. She underwent surgery for it on March 4.

McHenry said last week that her recovery is “hard.” She is aiming to “keep fighting” through her recovery, which coincides with the country battling the coronavirus pandemic.

This Frank Caliendo-Joey Mulinaro collaboration impression video of Bill Belichick and Andrew Luck is great

Frank Caliendo Jon Gruden

Frank Caliendo is doing his part to help keep people entertained as they stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. He has been posting several funny impression videos on social media, and one of his videos was a collaboration that stood out.

Caliendo and fellow impressionist/comedian Joey Mulinaro collaborated on this mock phone call between Bill Belichick and Andrew Luck. Caliendo plays Belichick, while Mulinaro plays Luck. Enjoy.

If you like that, you’ll really enjoy Caliendo pretending to do Pat Summerall and John Madden calling a viral video of a couple combining to be a horse.