Former American high jumper Dick Fosbury, who revolutionized the high jump, has died at the age of 76. He was an Olympic champion from the 1968 Mexico Games.
Dick Fosbury died last Sunday. His agent announced his death. Dick Fosbury will forever go down in sports history as he revolutionized the high jump.
Dick Fosbury became one of the most influential athletes after developing an innovative high jump technique that changed his sport in the 1960s. This style consists in moving the head over the bar first, then bending the body back and jumping over the bar in such a way that it is behind the competitor’s back. Fosbury’s new approach first attracted worldwide attention in 1968.
It was his innovative way of jumping that earned him a medal in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. Fosbury won the gold medal after clearing 2.24 meters in his third jump, beating teammate Ed Caruthers (2.22) and Soviet athlete Valentin Gavrilov (2.20). Fosbury’s jump was a new Olympic record.
Although Fosbury was never able to beat the record, his style of jumping quickly gained popularity, and in the following years more and more jumpers, men and women, began to use it. At the 1972 Munich Olympics, 28 of the 40 competitors used the Fosbury technique, and at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, 13 of the 16 finalists. Furthermore, only two other jumpers have managed to win an Olympic medal using other technique since Fosbury’s innovation, which was inducted into the US National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1981.
Fosbury retired after failing to qualify for the 1972 Munich Olympics despite being only 25 years old. After giving up athletics, he became an engineer.