• World
  • Mar 15

What is ‘Fosbury flop’?

• Olympic high jump champion Dick Fosbury, who revolutionised the event with a radically different jumping technique that was eventually named after him passed away in the US. He was 76.

• Before Fosbury, many high jumpers cleared their heights by running parallel to the bar, then using a straddle kick to leap over before landing with their faces pointed downward. 

• The straddle or scissor jump were common techniques in the high jump. But when foam matting was introduced to break the athletes’ fall, Fosbury used his new technique for the first time on the world stage.

• At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Fosbury took off at an angle, leaped backward, bent himself into a ‘J shape’ to catapult his 6-foot-4 frame over the bar, then crashed headfirst into the landing pit.

• It was a convention-defying move, and with the world watching, Fosbury cleared 2.24 meters to win the gold and set an Olympic record. 

• The technique has since been named the ‘Fosbury flop’ and used by all high jumpers today.

• The technique was the subject of scorn and ridicule in some corners. 

• The term ‘Fosbury flop’ is credited to the Medford Mail-Tribune, which wrote the headline ‘Fosbury Flops Over the Bar’ after one of his high school meets. The reporter wrote that Fosbury looked like a fish flopping in a boat.

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