He will forever be associated with a revolution he himself caused in the stereotypical world of athletics. At 76, Richard Fosbury died on Sunday. “It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a brief recurrence of lymphoma,” wrote on Instagram Ray Schulte, his agent. “The track and field legend is survived by his wife Robin Tomasi, son Erich Fosbury and daughters-in-law Stephanie Thomas-Phipps of Hailey, Idaho, and Kristin Thompson. The family is planning a celebration of life that will take place in the coming months,” he added.
Olympic champion in the high jump in 1968 in Mexico, the American is especially famous for having invented a new way of jumping. Until then, athletes used the technique of the scissor or possibly the ventral jump. In 1963, Dick Fosbury created the event by attempting a dorsal coiled jump. A jump that allows him to cross the bar of two meters when he capped at 1.80 with the old methods. Faced with this mysterious jump, the judges wondered if it was valid or not. That day, in a banal high school competition organized in Grants Pass in Oregon, the 1m93 giant became a legend.
Continuing to improve his technique, which will be called the Fosbury-Flop, the American will achieve consecration by becoming Olympic champion in 1968 by crossing the bar of 2.24 m, thus establishing a world record which will hold until 1976.
And to say that a few years earlier, he aroused many criticisms, doubts and even mockery on his way to Olympus, in an America where coaches and observers predicted him a broken neck rather than supporting a medal, his legacy remains palpable. more than fifty years later.
“I did not know that anyone else in the world could use (this technique) and I never imagined that it would revolutionize the discipline”, confided the one who failed to qualify for the Munich Games, after having had to put his sports career on hold for his studies in civil engineering.
To say that before showing inventiveness and perseverance, Fosbury, born in Portland (Oregon) on March 6, 1947 described himself, in his autobiography “Wizard of Foz” (“the Magician of Foz”) as ” one of the worst high jumpers in the state”…