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Encyclopedia > Fosbury Flop

Richard Douglas "Dick" Fosbury (born March 6, 1947) is an American athlete who revolutionised the high jump using a back-first technique, now known as the Fosbury flop. His method was to sprint diagonally towards the bar, then curve and leap backwards over the bar.


Dick Fosbury, born in Portland, Oregon, first started experimenting with this new technique at age 16, finding the variety of techniques used at the time - such as the "Eastern Cut Off", the "Straddle" and the "Scissors" - too complicated.


As a student at Oregon State University, he won the 1968 NCAA title using his new technique, as well as the US Olympic trials. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, which were held in Mexico City, he took the gold medal in a new Olympic Record, displaying the potential of the new technique.


Despite the initial sceptical reactions from the high jumping community, the new technique quickly gained popularity, and it is almost exclusively used by modern high jumpers.

Olympic medalists in athletics (men) | Olympic Champions in men's high jump
Ellery Clark | Irving Baxter | Samuel Jones | Cornelius Leahy | Harry Porter | Alma Richards | Richmond Landon | Harold Osborn | Robert King | Duncan McNaughton | Cornelius Johnson | John Winter | Walter Davis | Charles Dumas | Robert Shavlakadze | Valeriy Brumel | Dick Fosbury | Jüri Tarmak | Jacek Wszoła | Gerd Wessig | Dietmar Mögenburg | Gennadiy Avdeyenko | Javier Sotomayor | Charles Austin | Sergey Klyugin | Stefan Holm

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Fosbury (968 words)
Fosbury came upon the Flop quite by accident, during his sophomore year in high school in Medford, Ore. He was a gangly kid and a struggling high jumper, sick of bowing out of competitions at five feet, getting nowhere but frustrated jumping straddle style.
When he Flopped his way over the bar at 6-7 to set the school record, Wagner gave in, though many others were still resisting it, including a prominent coach and a parade of doctors, who claimed that the Flop was a broken neck waiting to happen.
Fosbury cleared seven feet at an indoor meet in Oakland early in 1968, and jumped 7-3 in the Olympic trials.
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