Dick Fosbury, one of track & field's all-time legends, is dead at 76, according to his manager Ray Schulte. He died peacefully Sunday after a recurrence of lymphoma.
Fosbury was the 1968 Olympic champion in the high jump and totally revolutionized the event with his Fosbury flop -- the technique employed by virtually all elite high jumpers to this day. A transcendent figure in our sport's history. RIP.
Wow! Just had a text from him not too long ago! What happened? He volunteered to do some clinics for me for the Special Olympics a few years back. Did so much for our sport and was tremendous ambassador. Couldn't be a nicer guy!
Having taught the frosbury flop for 27 years. I always started the lesson off with telling his story. Never forget 7th grade girl who scissors 5ft but once she learned the flop cleared 5'3. RIP Dick Frosbury.
Probably no human in history has revolutionized an event like Fosbury did the high jump. Fosbury won gold at the 1968 Olympics with the Fosbury Flop -- a new technique at the time that has since become the standard in the eve...
Bummer. Back in the day we didn't have pits that allowed for flopping. However, after a 5' 8" staddle in high school, and no high jumping during college, finally, after college a flopper taught me in about two minutes: 1) Run a J curve; 2) drive your right hand up like making a layup. I figured out the rest and latter managed six feet so definitely some improvement. Also note that your belly button is about eight inches from your back. So the current World high jump record is actually about 8'8" for the belly button.
I also got to jump against Dick down at a World Masters Meet down in Eugene. What a thrill. In heaven there is no high jump. That's why we do it here.
Having been on the Canadian Team along side Debbie Brill, she wouldn't have argued the point. Dick was doing what people in Canada liked to call the Brill Bend before Debbie and that's not taking anything away from Debbie. It is also possible Debbie and Dick came to the same result in the end without knowing it. Debbie was enabled by her dad in that he built her a foam pit. I don't think Dick had that luxury when he was a senior in high school and went over on his back. I'm guessing here that he slowly evolved his jumping technique with sawdust pits that made Dick's style easier with foam landing pads. Dick was a senior in 1964. Debbie would have been 11. Nevertheless, Debbie, competed in BC (straight north of Eugene) at age 13 provincially and competed internationally at age 15.
My coach in high school was Berny Wagner (Hall of Fame, U.S.A. Track and Field). When I was on his high school team, he coached Terry Llewellyn. Terry was a talented high jumper who Berny coached to having the world record for clearing the bar higher than any other high jumper his height at the time. Can't remember the details (I'm 79 and losing it), but Terry was something like 5'7" and cleared 6'9 or 6'8 1/2. I was there with my teammates whenever Terry jumped. It seemed impossible, Berny also coached me in college (CSM).
Because of his success as a coach, he was hired at OSU. We wrote letters back and forth. I have a couple of his telling me about Dick Fosbury. Berny was frustrated because whenever Dick used the straddle, Dick couldn't jump as high as when he was fooling around with the Flop. Finally, I got a letter from Berny, which said, "Oh, the Hell with it, we've decided to stick to the flop and see how much higher he can go if we can improve the technique."
Partied with Debbie; never met Dick but Berny always praised the nice man he was coaching, although he admitted Dick was teaching him more than he taught Dick.