1968 U.S. Olympian Kanati Allen passed away Dec. 31 in his native Los Angeles. He was 64. Prior to becoming an Olympian, Allen, who was 5/8 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.