World Athletics is deeply saddened to hear that 1968 Olympic high jump champion Dick Fosbury, who revolutionised his event by introducing the ‘Fosbury flop’ technique, died on Sunday (12) at the age of 76.
Among the most influential athletes in the sport, Fosbury’s innovation took the high jump to another level and he remained involved in athletics throughout his life. Sharing his knowledge and skill with future generations by coaching at numerous track camps, he also went on to serve as Vice President of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Association, and President of the World Olympians Association.
Born in Portland, Oregon, on 6 March 1947, Fosbury grew up in Medford where he took part in basketball as well as track and field. He developed what would become the ‘Fosbury flop’ while at Medford High, his achievements in the high jump securing him a scholarship to Oregon State University, where he earned an engineering degree.
Before Fosbury, high jumpers would commonly use the straddle or scissor techniques to clear the bar, but in the mid 1960s a US teenager was busy honing a more effective method. After Fosbury won NCAA titles indoors and outdoors in 1968, the new style made its international debut at the Olympic Games in Mexico City later that year.
SOURCE: WORLD ATHLETICS