‘Fosbury Flop’ excessive jumper Dick Fosbury dies at 76

Dick Fosbury, the lanky leaper who revamped the technical self-discipline of excessive leap and gained an Olympic gold medal together with his “Fosbury Flop,” has died. He was 76.

Fosbury died Sunday after a recurrence with lymphoma, in line with his publicist, Ray Schulte.

Before Fosbury, many excessive jumpers cleared their heights by operating parallel to the bar, then utilizing a straddle kick to leap over earlier than touchdown with their faces pointed downward. At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Fosbury took off at an angle, leaped backward, bent himself right into a “J” form to catapult his 6-foot-4 body over the bar, then crashed headfirst into the touchdown pit.

It was a convention-defying transfer, and with the world watching, Fosbury cleared 2.24 meters (7 toes, 4 1/4 inches) to win the gold and set an Olympic document. By the following Olympics, 28 of the 40 jumpers have been utilizing Fosbury’s method. The Montreal Games in 1976 marked the final Olympics by which a excessive jumper gained utilizing a way apart from the Fosbury Flop.

“The world legend is probably used too often,” dash nice Michael Johnson tweeted. “Dick Fosbury was a true LEGEND! He changed an entire event forever with a technique that looked crazy at the time but the result made it the standard.”

Over time, Fosbury’s transfer grew to become about greater than merely excessive leaping. It is commonly utilized by enterprise leaders and college professors as a research in innovation and willingness to take probabilities and break the mould.

“It’s literally genius,” mentioned 2012 Olympic excessive leap champion Erik Kynard Jr. “And it takes huge courage, obviously. And took huge courage at the time to even consider something so dangerous. Due to the equipment then, it was something that was a little on edge to attempt.”

Fosbury began tinkering with a brand new method within the early ’60s, as a youngster at Medford High School in Oregon. Among his discoveries was a necessity to maneuver his takeoff level farther again for increased jumps, so he may change the apex of the parabola form of his leap to clear the bar. Most conventional jumpers of that day planted a foot and took off from the identical spot whatever the top they have been making an attempt.

“I knew I had to change my body position, and that’s what started first the revolution, and over the next two years, the evolution,” Fosbury mentioned in a 2014 interview with The Corvallis Gazette-Times. “During my junior year, I carried on with this new technique, and each meet I continued to evolve or change, but I was improving. My results were getting better.”

The method was the topic of scorn and mock in some corners. The time period Fosbury Flop is credited to the Medford Mail-Tribune, which wrote the headline “Fosbury Flops Over the Bar” after considered one of his highschool meets. The reporter wrote that Fosbury seemed like a fish flopping in a ship.

Fosbury preferred “Fosbury Flop.”

“It’s poetic. It’s alliterative. It’s a conflict,” he as soon as mentioned.

In a chapter in his ebook concerning the Mexico City Games, journalist Richard Hoffer wrote that Fosbury as soon as acquired a letter from an LA medical director suggesting his method would result in “a rash of broken necks.”

“For the good of young Americans, you should stop this ridiculous attack on the bar,” the letter mentioned.

As a child, Fosbury threw himself into sports activities as a manner of coping with the grief after his youthful brother, Greg, was killed by a drunken driver whereas the 2 boys have been driving bikes. Unable to stay with the soccer or basketball groups, Fosbury tried observe however struggled there with the popular leap of these days — the straddle.

“He just looked at the thing differently, and it really worked,” mentioned Eric Hintz of the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. “And he had the guts and fortitude to stick with it in the face of criticism.”

Fosbury’s biographer, Bob Welch, wrote that Fosbury was wonderful coping with individuals ridiculing his type as a result of, to him, it nonetheless wasn’t as painful because the sorrow he felt for the lack of his brother.

Innovation gained out. Decades later, Fosbury’s flop stays a success, and his willingness to take an opportunity stays a lesson from which nearly anybody can study.

“He was as innovative as Henry Ford was to the Model T,” Kynard mentioned. “He’s the creator of what we still do to this day.”


AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.


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