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Fosbury, Who Revolutionized High Jumping, Became A Global Icon

By Doug Binder, DyeStat Editor

Richard “Dick” Fosbury, who taught the world a new way to compete in the high jump, died on Monday in Idaho due to a sudden and aggressive recurrence of lymphoma. He turned 76 last week. 

Fosbury, who first tried high jumping with his back to the bar at Medford High School in the 1960s just as foam pads were becoming available for landing, took his style forward to Oregon State University where he was a two-time NCAA champion and later to the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. His gold medal there convinced high jumpers around the world that he was onto something and within the next decade there was massive shift to the “Fosbury Flop.”

Fosbury was a member of the Olympic movement throughout his life and became the President of the World Olympians Association. 

Fosbury was the Chairman of the Board of the Simplot Games indoor track and field meet in Pocatello, Idaho and was unable to attend the event in February due to the return of his cancer. 

Author Bob Welch, who wrote the 2018 biography ‘Wizard of Foz,’ tweeted the news of Fosbury’s passing, marveling how that in five years Fosbury went from being laughed at for his high jumping technique to winning an Olympic gold medal. 

Oregon State unveiled a statue of Fosbury near the Dixon Student Recreation Center in Corvallis in 2018. 

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