Dick Fosbury: ‘true legend’ Olympic champion who revolutionized the high jump dies aged 76 | US News

Olympic champion Dick Fosbury, who revolutionized the high jump with the ‘Fosbury Flop’, has died at the age of 76.

He died peacefully in his sleep after a “brief recurrence of lymphoma,” his agent Ray Schulte said.

Fosbury, who won gold at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, developed a technique that involved going backwards over the bar instead of forward.

He was able to create the new style after rubber landing mats — replacing sand, sawdust or wood chip surfaces — became more common in the 1960s.

It meant he could ditch the previous scissor technique—in which jumpers took off sideways to the bar, lifting one leg at a time—and still land safely.

Fosbury, who stood 6 feet 4 inches tall, jumped sideways and landed on his back.

Dick Fosbury.  photo: AP
Fosbury competes in Seattle in 1967. Photo: AP

In Mexico, he set an Olympic record of 2.24 million to take the title and change the sport forever.

The technique, which gave him a much lower center of gravity, became known as the Fosbury Flop and has been adopted by all high jumpers ever since.

To know more:
Baroness Masham, Paralympian and longest-serving peer, dies aged 87
Costa Titch: The rapper who ‘symbolized the aspirations of the rainbow nation of South Africa’

At the next Olympics, in Munich, 28 of the 40 jumpers used the Fosbury technique.

The 1976 Montreal Games were the last Olympics in which a high jumper won using a technique other than the Fosbury Flop.

The style has been used by entrepreneurs and university professors as a way to study innovation and willingness to take risks.

“The world legend is probably used too often,” Olympic champion Michael Johnson tweeted.

“Dick Fosbury was a true LEGEND! He changed an entire event forever with a technique that seemed insane at the time, but the result made it the standard.”

2012 Olympic high jump champion Erik Kynard Jr said the Fosbury Flop was “literally brilliant”, adding: “It takes enormous courage, obviously.

“And (it) took tremendous courage at the time to even consider something that dangerous. Because of the equipment back then, it was something that was kind of borderline to attempt.”

Read more from Sky News:
Gary Lineker challenges Elon Musk over abusive message sent to son during BBC fight

Record-breaking Cyclone Freddy kills dozens

Fosbury began experimenting with a new technique in the early 1960s while a teenager at Medford High School in Oregon.

“I knew I had to change my body position, and that’s what started the revolution and, over the next two years, evolution,” Fosbury said in a 2014 interview with The Corvallis Gazette-Times.

“Throughout my freshman year, I continued with this new technique and with each fight I continued to evolve or change, but I was getting better. My results were getting better.”

Dick Fosbury.  photo: AP
Fosbury co-owned an engineering firm after retiring from athletics. photo: AP

Initially, the idea attracted a certain amount of ridicule, the term Fosbury Flop being attributed to the Medford Mail-Tribune, who wrote the headline “Fosbury Flops Over the Bar” after one of his high school fights.

The reporter wrote that Fosbury looked like a fish floating in a boat.

But the man himself liked the phrase. “It’s poetic, it’s alliterative, it’s conflict,” he said.

Fosbury graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in civil engineering in 1972 and is a part owner of an engineering firm in Idaho, where he has lived since 1977.

He was married with one son and two stepdaughters.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl