How One Man Changed the High Jump Forever | The Olympics on the Record

How One Man Changed the High Jump Forever | The Olympics on the Record

Olympic goes to Mexico. The Olympic high jump changed
for ever on October 20th 1968. The location was Mexico City. All was normal until a gangly, 21-year-old
civil engineering student in mis-matched
running shoes did this. That man’s name was
Dick Fosbury and although it may not seem
unusual to your eyes now, in 1968 it was revolutionary. On that day in Mexico City, the Olympic Games saw
its first Fosbury Flop and it has rarely seen
anything else ever since. The high jump has been a part
of the Olympic Games since the beginning. “Faster, Higher, Stronger,”
it’s there in the motto and down the years, techniques have changed to
inch that little bit higher. What started with a standing
jump went through a period where scissors were the vogue. Then a straddle,
and the “Western Roll”… ..each a little better
than the last. But over in Portland, Oregon,
in the mid-1960s, the young Dick Fosbury
was a lousy straddler. He watched his hero Valery
Brumel break record after record, but the only thing Fosbury
broke was his hand. Someone had bet him he couldn’t
jump over a chair and he couldn’t. But that was before Fosbury
tried something new. He married up his engineering
know-how with what his body was doing naturally
as he ran up to the bar. Fosbury applied some mechanics and learned that by
arching his back, a jumper’s centre of gravity
can stay below the bar, even as the body sailed
over it. If they get into that
perfect arch, it’s a mechanical advantage
to use that technique. Jumpers before took off from
the foot nearest the bar and span in the air to kick
their other leg over first, but Fosbury changed the run-up
and flipped the technique. Sawdust replaced sand, then foam appeared for the
jumpers to land on. It was all in place for Fosbury
to give it a try. Out there in Mexico City, Fosbury was already not like
the other guys. He didn’t like to practise.
He was a loner. He missed the opening ceremony to drive out to see
the pyramids, watching the sunset
and sleeping in a van. And his skills were as much
in his head as in his legs. Fosbury psyched himself up for
each jump, winning the 80,000 crowd on to his side and getting them
to will him over the bar. When the newspapers first saw
Fosbury jump before the Games, they said he was like
a “two-legged camel”. They dismissed him as a
curiosity, but this camel went through the start of the competition without knocking the bar
off once. There were only three men
left at 2.20 metres. All were guaranteed
at least a bronze. Ed Caruthers, United States, and Valentin Gavrilov, Soviet
Union, both joined Fosbury over 2.20 metres, but Gavrilov
couldn’t get over 2.22 metres. Caruthers couldn’t get over
2.24 metres, but Fosbury, like a champion, dug deep. His leap over the bar
at 2.24 metres set a new Olympic record
and won him a gold medal. Fosbury never came back
to the Olympics as an athlete after that day in Mexico City,
but his name sure did. He said, “I think quite a few
kids “will begin trying it
my way now.” The Fosbury Flop
is now the only way to fly.

100 Replies to “How One Man Changed the High Jump Forever | The Olympics on the Record”

  1. He looks like that one weird kid that’s doing some crazy weird stuff but he’s actually a genius and everyone judges him because they are closed minded

  2. I say replace the landing with concrete and see how well his innovative high jump technique works then.

  3. By the time I went to High School in 1976, to an 11 year old, 1968 seemed like pre-history, but the 'Fosbury Flop' was already established.

    Interestingly a female Olympic medalist in the high jump had previously been to our school a few years' earlier and her record was marked on the equipment that we used. For all the machismo among the lads, it was daunting to see just how high a GIRL from our school had jumped and not one of the boys ever got close to it.

  4. So basically he went head first and people were like woah.? wouldn’t blame them. All these years people were jumping breached.

  5. 세상은 단 한명에 의해 바꿔집니다. 그리고 모두들 그를 따르고……지금도 그렇고 미래도 그렇겠죠 ^^

  6. Like the Fosburry Flop, swimming have their Suzuki's underwater. Except, they had to make amendments to the rule to not allow it ;D

    JAVIER SOTOMAYOR CUBA High Jump World Record – WR – 2.45 m.

  8. As a sophomore in high school Fosbury couldn't clear 5'2". But then he took at great leap backwards! His junior year he cleared 6' 3" and broke his school's record. Four years later he jumped 7' 4.25", breaking both the American and Olympic records. Today he's considered one of the most influential athletes in the history of track and field.

  9. People were jumping over two meters. But more than that was on some by changing style. But new style introduced was not adopted in other countries like Nigeria, India and Pakistan. There is no arrangement in colleges and schools. They are still jumping with old style with mediacre results.

  10. He pictured it, he developed it, he made it happen, his own unique way, all the way to the top.
    The straddle was beautiful though..

  11. It still seems to be that if you jump powered by two legs instead of one, you should be able to go higher. I'm sure there's some other technique that will turn out better.

  12. They should keep that kick jump in another type of Olympic high jumping. I think it looks more entertaining than the back jumping.

  13. They should keep that kick jump in another type of Olympic high jumping. I think it looks more entertaining than the back jumping.

  14. They should keep that kick jump in another type of Olympic high jumping. I think it looks more entertaining than the back jumping.

  15. Сейчас бы его проверили бы на наркотики, а потом еще бы раз перепроверили. Ей богу как тарчок перед попыткой стоит.

  16. How did qualifications work back then? I'm just trying to understand how didn't the other competitors see him do this before the games, like at other competitions, trials, etc, & try it for themselves?

  17. Фосбери , настоящий раздолбай ,такое замутить ,красава

  18. I actually wish the jumpers were required to land on their feet again. That makes the jumps more real and relevant for the real world, unlike landing on you back.

  19. короче первый кто додумался пригнуть спиной к балке…охринеть баран

  20. I guessed the name right because of my physical education textbook.
    At last I can say some textbooks are really helpful for enriching knowledge.

  21. To summarize, he jumped with his brain, not with his legs.
    Still the same thing, in many domains brain is the winner, and that's a good new!

  22. A contemporary of Fosbury, Canadian Debbie Brill, developed the same technique independently. It was called the "Brill bend". Although Brill was a world-class high jumper, well-known on the U.S. indoor circuit, she didn't medal in the Olympics. Hence Fosbury is rightfully remembered as the technique's originator. It was made possible by the advent of foam landing pits. Try flopping into the old sand pit!

  23. I dont know about others but he is really a superhero in my eyes. It takes guts and brains to do sth like that infront of the world. It was his small leap of faith one way.

  24. Just think if you would have practice more at it he would have been even higher sounds to me like he was lazy and a bum with two different shoes

  25. I always thought that a gymnast should do a bunch of back handsprings for momentum, and then instead of doing a double backflip, do a super high fosbury flop over that sucker

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