UNITED STATES: Dick Fosbury, an Olympian gold medalist from the United States who popularized the Fosbury Flop as a high jump maneuver, has passed away. He was 76.
In 1968, after a high jump final in Mexico City that ran for more than four hours, Fosbury became famous.
His method for high-jumping, which he came up with while competing for his college team in Oregon, was to jump backward and arch his back over the bar. This broke decades of high-jump rules. In just five years, he went from struggling as a high school athlete in his home town of Medford to being known all over the world.
“It was excessive. I was a young person from a small community who accomplished far more than I had ever imagined. Although I enjoyed the focus, I eventually wanted it to end. That wasn’t how it operated,” he said.
He added that he became “mentally exhausted” as a result of “too much attention. People put me on a pedestal and kept me there. I didn’t want to be on a pedestal. I received my medal, and I wanted to be back on the ground with everyone else.”
But in other places, Fosbury claimed that the gold “changed my life. It brought me gifts, not necessarily monetary ones. I have met presidents and kings, seen the world, and shared my life with wonderful people.”
Fosbury did not participate in the Olympics again, but his style quickly took over the sport.
“I guess it did look kind of weird at first,” he said of the Fosbury Flop in an interview with the Guardian in 2012, “but it felt so natural that, like all good ideas, you just wonder why no one had thought of it before me.”
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