Dick Fosbury, the man who revolutionised the discipline of high jump, passed away on Sunday at the age of 76, according to multiple media reports who quoted his agent.
Fosbury was 21 when he changed the discipline of high jump forever, thanks to an innovative technique that he called the Fosbury Flop – one which involved using a curved run-up and leaping over the bar with the back arched. Using the Fosbury Flop technique, the Oregon State University student won the gold medal at the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a brief recurrence of lymphoma,” Ray Schulte, Fosbury’s agent, wrote on Instagram.
He went on to add: “The Track & Field legend is survived by his wife Robin Tomasi, and son Erich Fosbury, and stepdaughters Stephanie Thomas-Phipps of Hailey, Idaho, and Kristin Thompson.
A “Celebration of Life” is being planned by the family and will take place within the next few months. Details will be made available shortly. Dick will be greatly missed by friends and fans from around the world. A true legend, and friend of all!”
For the first 72 years at the Olympic Games, athletes jumped forwards in the high jump 🏃
Then, at Mexico 1968, Dick Fosbury came along with his “Fosbury flop” and changed the sport forever 🙌pic.twitter.com/AZOwrV6scA
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) March 13, 2023
After his gold at the Mexico City Olympics, the Fosbury Flop became so popular that by the next Olympics in Munich, 28 out of the 40 competitors were using it in competition. The Seoul Olympics in 1988 were the last edition of the Games to feature a high jumper using a different technique in high jump than the Fosbury Flop.
“I thought that after I won the gold, one or two jumpers would start using it, but I never really contemplated that it would become the universal technique. Yet, it only took a generation,” Fosbury said in 2012.