Dick Fosbury, Olympic high jump champion and Fosbury flop pioneer, dies aged 76

Olympic high jump champion Dick Fosbury, who revolutionized the event with a radically different jumping technique that was eventually named after him, died Sunday at the age of 76, his agent Ray Schulte said on Monday (Tuesday AEDT).

Fosbury won gold in the high jump at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, where he was the first to jump back to clear the bar, a technique since dubbed the “Fosbury Flop” and now used by all high jumpers.

Dick Fosbury at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must report that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a brief recurrence of lymphoma,” Schulte wrote on Instagram.

“The track and field legend is survived by his wife Robin Tomasi, son Erich Fosbury and stepdaughters Stephanie Thomas-Phipps … and Kristin Thompson.”

The straddle or scissor jump were common high jump techniques. But when foam mats were introduced to cushion athletes’ falls, Fosbury used his new technique on the world stage for the first time.


The American set a then Olympic record of 2.24 meters to claim gold and change the sport forever, with more athletes attempting the back-first vault as the technique began to catch on.

“Yesterday one of the most famous people in high jump died,” said Amelie Oudea-Castera, France’s Minister for Sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Dick Fosbury had revolutionized the practice of the sport with his supreme audacity. thoughts of his loved ones.”

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/athletics/supreme-audacity-high-jump-pioneer-fosbury-hailed-after-death-at-76-20230314-p5cru0.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Dick Fosbury, Olympic high jump champion and Fosbury flop pioneer, dies aged 76

Ryan Sederquist

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