Dick Fosbury, Olympic champion who modified excessive leap ceaselessly, dies aged 76 | US sports activities

The American Olympic champion Dick Fosbury, who revolutionised the excessive leap with a method that turned generally known as the Fosbury Flop, has died. He was 76.

His former agent, Ray Schulte, introduced the information on Instagram on Monday.

He wrote: “It’s with a really heavy coronary heart I’ve to launch the information that longtime buddy and consumer Dick Fosbury handed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a brief bout with a recurrence of lymphoma.”

Fosbury shot to fame in 1968, when he gained high-jump gold in Mexico Metropolis after a closing that lasted greater than 4 hours.

His technique, honed in faculty competitors in Oregon, concerned leaping backwards and arching his again over the bar, thereby reversing and ripping up many years of high-jump orthodoxy. Within the span of simply 5 years, he had gone from struggling as a high-school athlete in his hometown, Medford, to successful worldwide fame.

In 2012, Fosbury instructed the Guardian he “had a horrible time coping with all the eye” that adopted his Olympic triumph.

“It was an excessive amount of. I used to be a small-town child who did one thing approach past what I had ever anticipated to do. I favored the eye, however I wished it to be over at some extent. It didn’t work that approach.”

He additionally stated he turned “mentally exhausted” as a result of “there was an excessive amount of consideration. Folks put me on a pedestal and saved me there. I didn’t need to be on a pedestal. I obtained my medal and I wished to be again on the bottom with everybody else.”

Elsewhere, nonetheless, Fosbury stated the gold “modified my life. It introduced me presents, not essentially financial. I’ve met presidents and kings, seen the world and shared my life with great folks.”

Fosbury didn’t compete on the Olympics once more however his method swiftly got here to dominate his sport.

In his 2012 Guardian interview, he stated of the Fosbury Flop: “I assume it did look sort of bizarre at first however it felt so pure that, like all good concepts, you simply marvel why nobody had considered it earlier than me.”

For the Guardian, Simon Burnton wrote: “A few folks have claimed that they did, most notably the Canadian future world No1 Debbie Brill, who was growing the ‘Brill Bend’ at across the identical time, and was videoed utilizing the method in 1966. ‘I used to be fairly shocked once I noticed Fosbury leap the primary time,’ she stated. ‘I assumed I used to be the one one doing it.’”

In 2009, in a Guardian piece revealed 41 years to the day since his gold-medal win, Fosbury stated the Flop “obtained its identify earlier in 1968 when a journalist requested what my method was known as, and I borrowed the terminology my hometown newspaper had utilized in an image caption, which learn: ‘Fosbury flops over the bar’.

“It was alliterative, it was descriptive, and I favored the contradiction – a flop that may very well be a hit.”

Dick Fosbury, in Italy in 2021.
Dick Fosbury, in Italy in 2021. {Photograph}: Ettore Griffoni/LiveMedia/REX/Shutterstock

In his Instagram publish on Monday, Schulte wrote: “The monitor and discipline legend is survived by his spouse, Robin Tomasi, and son, Erich Fosbury, and stepdaughters Stephanie Thomas-Phipps … and Kristin Thompson.”

Schulte stated a celebration of Fosbury’s life was being deliberate, and added: “Dick will probably be significantly missed by pals and followers from around the globe. A real legend, and buddy of all!”

The four-time-Olympic champion sprinter Michael Johnson was amongst others to pay tribute.

“The world legend might be used too typically,” Johnson said. “Dick Fosbury was a real LEGEND! He modified a complete occasion for ever with a method that seemed loopy on the time however the outcome made it the usual.”

Ato Boldon, the previous Trinidadian sprinter, said: “Godspeed, Fos, from an eternally grateful sport.”

USA Monitor & Area, the game’s US governing physique, said: “Our sport misplaced a real legend and innovator at the moment.”

USATF additionally posted a video during which Fosbury mentioned his work as a coach “throughout the nation and the world over, from the very starting, educating coaches what the Fosbury Flop was all about, to … working with younger highschool athletes.

“… I encourage all athletes to maintain an open thoughts to the likelihood you can encourage a younger athlete to turn into their finest, to seek out their very own approach in sport. And so thanks, and God bless.”