‘Forever changed the sport’ – Revolutionary high jumper, inventor of ‘Fosbury Flop’ Dick Fosbury dies, aged 76

Legendary American high jumper Dick Fosbury has died at the age of 76.

Fosbury, who won gold at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, is credited with revolutionizing the event after developing his own unique technique for clearing the bar.

His death was announced on Instagram by his former agent Ray Schulte, who wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that I release the news that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a brief seizure with a recurrence of lymphoma.

“The track and field legend is survived by his wife Robin Tomasi and son Erich Fosbury, as well as stepdaughters Stephanie Thomas-Phipps of Hailey, Idaho, and Kristin Thompson.

He added: “Dick will be greatly missed by friends and fans around the world. A true legend and friend of all!

“Rest In Peace Dick”.


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Fosbury’s name is forever etched in sports history after he invented the high jump, later dubbed the “Fosbury Flop”.

After starting the event as a teenager, Fosbury rejected the more traditional ‘straddle method’ of the time with his own technique of jumping head first backwards and arching his body to get over the bar.

At the 1968 Games, Fosbury, armed with his special vault, secured gold with a leap of 2.24 meters, an Olympic record at the time.

The jump is now the preferred method of the vast majority of high jumpers.

In 1981, Fosbury was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, and a statue of Fosbury performing The Flop was unveiled at his alma mater, Oregon State University.

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He was first diagnosed with lymphoma in 2008.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Dick Fosbury, a true legend and pioneer in the athletics world,” said Max Siegel, CEO of the USATF.

“Dick’s innovative technique of the ‘Fosbury Flop’ revolutionized the high jump and changed the sport forever. His gold medal win at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics not only cemented his place in US Olympic history, but left an indelible mark on the global sports community.

“We will always be grateful for his contributions to the sport and his impact on generations of athletes who have followed in his footsteps. Dick will be greatly missed but his legacy will live on as an inspiration to all.”


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