Dick Fosbury, who won an Olympic gold medal with the ‘Fosbury Flop,’ dies at 76

Dick Fosbury
Dick Fosbury, seen here at the 1968 NCAA championships in Detroit, died Sunday. He was 76. (AP Photo)

Olympic high jumper Dick Fosbury died Sunday after a battle with cancer, according to the Associated Press.

He was 76.

Fosbury was first diagnosed with lymphoma in 2008. While he entered remission a few years later, the cancer returned recently.

Fosbury is perhaps best known for his “Fosbury Flop,” a move that won him a gold medal at the Olympics and changed the sport of high jumping altogether. Fosbury ran toward the bar at an angle and jumped over it backward head-first, something that wasn’t done at the time. Instead, most jumpers ran parallel to the bar and jumped over with a scissor kick.

Fosbury set an Olympics record in the 1968 Games in Mexico City where he cleared a bar set at 2.24 meters with his “Fosbury Flop,” which was described at the time as “unorthodox but spectacular.”

By the time the next Olympics were held in Munich in 1974, 70% of jumpers were using his technique, which is now commonplace in the sport.

Fosbury was born in Portland, Oregon, and attended college at Oregon State before making it onto Team USA for his first and only Olympics in Mexico. He broke the then-school record after clearing 6 feet, 10 inches in the high jump as a sophomore with the Beavers, and later won an NCAA title.

The school unveiled a statue honoring Fosbury and his jump in 2018.