Henry Thomas (athlete)
|Born||July 10, 1967|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg)|
|Event(s)||100 m, 200 m, 400 m|
|College team||UCLA Bruins|
|Club||Santa Monica Track Club|
Henry Thomas (born July 10, 1967) is a former American sprinter known for running at the high school and collegiate levels. A versatile athlete, he was successful at 100 metres through 400 metres, holding the World Youth best for 100 metres (for over 10 years), set in a race 7 days after he set the world Youth best in the 400 metres. He is the only athlete to simultaneously appear in both the 100m and 400m top lists.
Thomas led the team at Hawthorne High School, in Hawthorne, California of the 1980s to win the CIF California State Meet in both 1983 and 1984. Individually, he won the 200 metres in both 1983 and 1984—setting the state record that lasted 14 years, the 100 metres in 1984 after finishing second as a sophomore the previous year—setting the state record that lasted 5 years, and anchored his team to 4 × 400 metres relay victories in both years. The 1983 relay was a "come from behind" race passing Danny Harris on the final straightaway. Harris won a silver medal at the Olympics the following year. The time of that 1984 victory is still ranked #3, and 1983 is ranked #4 on the all-time list. Hawthorne won that relay 6 years in a row. His 100 metres record was beaten by Hawthorne's Curtis Conway who played in the NFL, and the 200 metres record was beaten by Kareem Kelly who also played in the NFL. Early in the 1985 season, the Hawthorne team, anchored by Thomas' 44.5 split, won the Texas Relays in what is still the National High School record 3:07.40. Joining Thomas on that team, as the "slow" newcomer was future Olympic gold medalist Mike Marsh. Shortly after the record, Thomas suffered from appendicitis, requiring surgery. He was unable to compete in the championship meet his senior year, Marsh won the state meet 200 metres in his place.
In 2010, Marsh, Thomas, Michael Graham and Sean Kelly joined together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the record.
His best attempt to make an Olympic team came at age 21, when he finished 7th in 1988 Olympic Trials at 200m representing Santa Monica Track Club. He went to UCLA where he is ranked #2 all time in the 200 metres, #3 in the 100 metres and #7 in the 400 metres. Every person ranked ahead of him, except newcomer Craig Everhart, is an Olympic medalist or world record holder. He helped UCLA win the NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships twice, 1987 and 1988 and anchored its NCAA record setting 4 × 400 metre relay team (that also Danny Everett, Steve Lewis, and Kevin Young). Later in 1988, after failing to make the Olympics himself, he tried out for the UCLA football team. At the time he said (in third person) "I'm getting older now and making my own decisions, and this is something Henry wants to do."
Thomas was arrested and later was convicted following a June 29, 1991 robbery and assault at a Los Angeles fast food restaurant. He did not get to compete at the 1992 Olympic Trials. He served 10 years in prison.
- "IAAF Youth Top list". Archived from the original on July 15, 2009.
- "CIF California State Meet 1983 Boys 4×400 Relay". March 24, 2009 – via YouTube.
- "California State Meet Results - 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
- Maher, John (April 1, 2010). "Rule change 25 years ago gave Relays a major lift". Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012.
- Drooz, Alan (May 30, 1985). "Hawthorne in Race for Third Straight State Track Title". Los Angeles Times.
- Baker, Chris (April 1, 1986). "UCLA's Henry Thomas Is Off to a Fast Start in 1986". Los Angeles Times.
- Collin, Phil (May 29, 2010). "Hawthorne's 25-year-old national mark in 4x400 relay stands test of time". Daily Breeze Sports.
- Crowe, Jerry (October 20, 1988). "Thomas Tries Hand at Football : UCLA Sprinter Switches Gears, Wants to Become Receiver". Los Angeles Times.
- "Former UCLA sprint star jailed". The San Bernardino Sun. August 11, 1991 – via Newspapers.com.
- "People in Sports". Eugene Register-Guard. August 11, 1991.
|Boys' World Youth Best Holder, 100 metres
19 May 1984 – 21 July 1994
|Boys' World Youth Best Holder, 400 metres
13 May 1984 – 20 June 1987