History of the Pommel Flair

In honour of the late, great Kurt Thomas who made the Flair famous, I’m reposting some history.

Phillippe Delasalle from Canada was often credited for introducing the “Flair” after he showed it in international competition in Russia 1975.  Soviets called it Delasalle for decades following.

Kurt Thomas unveiled his “Thomas Flair” variation (Flair Czechkehre Flair) in 1976.

Hardy Fink:

Naming of an element usually requires performance at a World Championship or Olympic Games. Both Philippe and Kurt performed it on the day of optional competition in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Canada did not have a full team so it competed early on that day. For that reason, Philippe performed it many hours before Kurt.

All of the Eastern bloc and many other countries referred to it as the Delesalle for many years. But the name Thomas flair eventually won the “name recognition” war and that is how it was entered in the Code of Points several years later.

Most agree it was Ted Marcy and others from Hinsdale High School in Chicago who invented the Flair.

Donny Gardiner who was on the Hinsdale team back then recalls “the guys” playing around with different ideas to transfer from circles into pendulum swings. It was a ‘scissor break’ that evolved into the Flair over time.

(Donny recalls that Marcy was the first they knew of to reach vertical on scissors, as well.)

Todd Gardiner, Donny’s brother, recalls that Ted did the Marcy flair in High School competition which consisted of just the split into scissor break. By college (1972) Ted was probably training full flairs, but Todd’s not sure when (exactly) he first competed them.  One competitor from those years cannot recall Marcy ever competing a full flair.

However, at the Midwest Open in either ’74 or ’75 Ted competed against Hoffman & Slezak from Hinsdale, among other greats, and fell very early in the routine. As Midwest didn’t allow for a remount, Ted smiled, saluted, then got back up and threw a fun routine including an exaggerated full Marcy Flair and other wild stuff. The crowd went nuts.

Click PLAY or watch some Collegiate Championships 1976 on YouTube.  A number of the competitors use variations of scissor break and Flair.  Ted competed for Stanford.

Joel Ulloa who ended up competing for Cal State Fullerton was working on Flair in the ’70s too. You might recall the IG magazine photo sequence of the ‘Ulloa Break’.

So who invented the Flair?

I’m guessing the first full Flair was most likely done first at Hinsdale by 1972 or 1973. In training.  At the time Ted Marcy was the best of the guys playing around with it. Hoffman and Slezak may have competed a full Flair even earlier in local competitions.

liquid chalk for Gymnastics?


I got some feedback on this radical idea.  Male gymnasts tried it at one club but quickly abandoned the idea.  It didn’t work as well for H Bar.

Dr. Bill Sands sent a Safety Data Sheet on Isopropyl Alcohol (50-100%).

Risks include the fact that Isopropyl Alcohol is flammable. And some are allergic to topical alcohol. 

All in all, I don’t think I’d try liquid chalk. 

___ original post:

Steve Arkell linked to this video, a rock climber making her own liquid chalk.

Alcohol is a component, a disinfectant.

I checked with a rock climbing coach who agreed it couldn’t hurt to use chalk with alcohol on reopening after COVID-19.  On climbing walls. And in sports like Gymnastics.

He suggested we could use 100% alcohol in the formula.

When kids are in the Gym we should remind them not to touch their face, as well.

Leave a comment if you have an opinion.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

John Prine was a gymnast. R.I.P.

Many of my generation were big fans of John Prime.

The singer songwriter died April 7, 2020 of complications caused by COVID-19.


Prine competed for Proviso East High School in the Chicago suburbs. Chicago was well known for excellent Pommels in that era.

“… it was gymnastics that got me through high school!”  

John Prine



training Pommel at home

Click PLAY or watch it on Twitter.

kate_pykhtova – Flairs

A Russian Aerobic gymnast.

Many women have tried to learn them. These are easily the best I’ve seen, so far, on Floor.

Click PLAY or watch it on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Всем спорт💋

A post shared by Ekaterina (@kate_pykhtova) on