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1968 U.S. Olympian Kanati Allen Passes (updated)
(6 votes, average 4.83 out of 5)

1968 U.S. Olympian Kanati Allen died Dec. 31 in his native Los Angeles. He was 64. Prior to becoming an Olympian, Allen, who was of black and native ancestry (Cherokee), made the 1966 world team. He attended UCLA, where he majored in physics, and placed third all-around at the 1967 NCAA championships. Art Shurlock was his college coach. He later earned a Ph.D. in physics from the U. of Washington.

Allen was coached by John Muir in high school, "but my main coaches were the Sakamoto brothers," he said in an interview in the January 1968 issue of The Modern Gymnast (IG's predecessor). Following are more excerpts from that interview:

What is it about gymnastics that keeps you at it?

Just as I like physics, I like gymnastics, so I do it. It's fun.

Do you apply some of your physics principles to gymnastics?

Not exactly. I apply more of my gymnastics to my physics. I didn't really apply the techniques of learning to physics, as I did to gymnastics. So now I am doing it more in physics.

How do you feel about gymnastics in relation to other sports?

To me, other sports are a game. Gymnastics is the only sport. It's a kind of way of life.

What are your plans after you graduate? Do you plan to keep up with your gymnastics?

Oh, maybe when I'm 70, I'll consider slacking off a little.

A wake for Allen will be held Jan. 11, from 4-8 p.m. A funeral will be held Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Angeles Funeral Home on Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Blvd.

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Al Fong said:

He was a friend of mine, excellent gymnast, humble, brilliant, very much a solo act. Back in the summers of 1971 and 1972 when I came home from LSU, I worked out with Kanati at the U.of Washington. Just he and I during the off hours when the gym was empty. What an honor for me back then to be able to work out with such an elegant Olympian. He would let only me be in the gym to train with him. He liked to work out alone.
It's an honor and a privelege to have known him.

Al Fong
January 14, 2012 | url
Votes: -1

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