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Dick Fosbury, the Olympic champion whose 'Fosbury Flop' revolutionized high jump, passes away at 76

Dick Fosbury's technique, the Fosbury Flop, revolutionized the sport and became the standard for generations of high jumpers.

Dick Fosbury, the Olympic champion whose 'Fosbury Flop' revolutionized high jump, passes away at 76
Cover Image Source: GettyImages/Photo by: Tony Duffy

Dick Fosbury, an American Olympic champion, passed away at the age of 76. He was known for revolutionizing the high jump with a technique popularly known as the Fosbury Flop. He won high-jump gold in Mexico City in 1968 after a final that lasted over four hours. Fosbury's strategy involved jumping backward and arching his back over the bar, reversing decades of high jump orthodoxy.

He became famous worldwide within five years. He went from struggling as a high-school athlete in his hometown to winning Olympic gold. Fosbury's former agent, Ray Schulte, announced his passing on Instagram on March 13, 2023, stating that he passed away peacefully in his sleep after a short bout with a recurrence of lymphoma.


Fosbury's technique became so popular that it swiftly came to dominate his sport, despite initially appearing weird to some people. Fosbury credited his hometown newspaper for coming up with the term "Fosbury Flop" in a picture caption, describing his jump as a flop over the bar.

In a 2012 interview with The Guardian, Fosbury said that he had a hard time dealing with the attention he received after his Olympic triumph. He became mentally exhausted and felt that people put him on a pedestal. Despite this, he acknowledged that the gold medal changed his life, allowing him to meet presidents and kings, see the world and share his life with wonderful people. Fosbury did not compete in the Olympics again, but his technique became widely adopted in the sport.


Fosbury's legacy has left a lasting impact on the sport of the high jump. His technique is now the standard in the sport and his contributions have been recognized by athletes and sports organizations alike.

Michael Johnson, a four-time Olympic champion sprinter, called Fosbury a true legend and said that he changed the event forever. The US governing body for track and field, USA Track & Field, also paid tribute to Fosbury, calling him a true innovator and legend in the sport.

Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Photo by: 	Manuel Queimadelos Alonso
 Image Source: Getty Images/Photo by: Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

According to Guardian, Fosbury is survived by his wife, Robin Tomasi, his son, Erich Fosbury and stepdaughters Stephanie Thomas-Phipps and Kristin Thompson. Schulte stated that a celebration of Fosbury's life was being planned and that Fosbury would be greatly missed by friends and fans around the world. Fosbury also had a long career as a coach, training coaches and young athletes in the Fosbury Flop.


Fosbury's legacy teaches us the value of innovation and perseverance. He was not content to follow the conventional wisdom of his sport and instead sought to push the boundaries of what was possible. His technique may have looked strange initially, but it ultimately became the new standard in the high jump.

Fosbury's journey also teaches us about the challenges of fame and the importance of staying grounded despite success. He was a small-town kid who achieved worldwide fame. Despite everything, he never forgot his roots or the people who helped him along the way. His contributions will be remembered by athletes and fans for years to come.

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