The Fosbury Flop
At the nineteen, Sixty, eight Olympics in Mexico City Dick. Fosbury won the gold medal in the men's high jump. He did it by jumping Olympic record two point, two four meters or seven feet four inches. What was remarkable about his accomplishment wasn't the Heidi jumped but how he did it get interest when a gold medal revolutionized the sport of high jumping. Learn more about the innovator of the Fosbury flop on this episode of everything everywhere daily. This episode is brought to you by curiosity stream. This podcast gives you a wide array of subjects and things to learn about every day. However, sometimes, you might want to go more in depth on a subject than what you might get on a daily podcast. Curiosity Stream has over two thousand, five hundred documentaries about a wide variety of subjects, including shows like the Olympic Games Amir to society. Prices start as low as two, ninety, nine per month or one, thousand, nine, hundred, ninety, nine per year one of the cheapest streaming services online. If you'll have to learn than start your subscription by visiting everything dash everywhere dot com slash curiosity stream, or click on the link in the show notes. High jumping is a very simple sport. There's a bar and you must jump over it without knocking the bar down. And that's pretty much it. For something. So simple it's surprising that there's been so much innovation over time there have been several styles and techniques used in the high jump the scissor jump the straddle, jump the western role. In the eastern cutoff. We're all different variations of how competitors managed to leap over the bar. Most of them were like a glorified leap or hurdle over the bar. If you go and watch a youtube video showing any of the previously mentioned techniques, it probably looks very different from how you may have seen people do the high jump today. That is because the way almost every single high jumper in the world jumps today was influenced by Dick Fosbury and the technique he developed the Fosbury. Flop. Dick Fosbury began high jumping and school in Medford Oregon as a sixteen year old. He began experimenting with new techniques to compete in the high jump because he was having difficulty with the current popular technique, the straddle jump. With this jump, you would have your body face down and kick your legs over the bar sequentially. Fosbury just couldn't do it. You couldn't even meet the qualifying level of five feet or one point. Five meters at high school track meets. You went back to the scissor jump which was considered outdated. Then at one meet, he had a breakthrough you lower the shoulders and lifted his hips and managed to get a personal best of six feet. Fosbury kept doing his unique style of high jump improving the technique get to figure out everything himself as he noted in an interview quote quite honestly, there was no model nothing similar to what I was doing. They really didn't have anything to help guide me only to encourage me. His early attempts described as an airborne seizure. The name Fosbury flop came from a local newspaper that ran a photo of him with the caption fosbury flops over bar, and in corresponding the writer said, he looked like a fish flopping in about. By his senior year, get changed the technique to going over the bar backwards head first and curling his feet over the bar. He was able to do this because this was also the same time that they switched the high jump landing area to foam rubber. The foam allowed him to land on his back prior to this. Almost all high jumpers landed on their feet as there was only a pile of sand in the landing area. It looked weird but it worked as a senior. He set the school record took second at the State Tournament and later won a national tournament in Houston. After graduation, he attended Oregon State University whereas coach tried to get him to jump like everyone else. The debate on how we should jump ended his sophomore year when he crushed the school record by jumping six feet, ten inches or two point, zero, eight meters, his technique had clearly proven itself and his coach agreed to go all in. They began by filming him jumping this way. So they could. Improve technique. Other people began taking notice to. In nineteen, Sixty, eight, he made the cover of track and Field News One, the NCWA championship and won the US Olympic trials all using his crazy jumping technique. Even, though he won the Olympic trials in Los Angeles, the US Olympic Committee wasn't sure that the results at sea level would be the same as the results at altitude in Mexico City. So they had a second trial in Lake Tahoe. We're five very qualified again. During the Olympics Berry cemented his reputation for doing things differently he skipped the opening ceremony. So he could go see the pyramids outside of Mexico City and slept in a van that night. At the Olympics, he coasted to a gold medal making every single jump up until he had the gold medal clenched and then tried for a world record which he didn't get. He had to settle for the Olympic. An American records Fosbury success was unique because it didn't come from enormous strength or speed. Witness Biman's incredible performance at the nineteen sixty eight Olympics which I went over back in episode thirty one. Fosbury found success because he dared to do something different and to break the sports established norms. After he won a gold medal, the crazy technique was no longer so crazy and everyone started doing it. Just, four years later at the nineteen seventy, two Olympics in Munich twenty, eight of the forty competitors were using the Fosbury flop nineteen seventy-six marked the last time anyone wanted Olympic medal using technique other than the Fosbury flop. Every single Olympic medalist in the high jump in forty six years has followed in the footsteps of Dick Fosbury. Special about going over backwards well as it turns out files. Berry degree in engineering, and while they were analyzing his technique in college, they figured out the secret. Every other style of jumping, required, putting your whole body over the bar at the same time. In physics terms, they had to put their center of mass above the bar. With the Fosbury Flop, you could go over the bar yet keep your center of mass below the bar as your body bends around the Bar, your center of mass shifts from the back to the front. But at no time, does it have to be above the bar in terms of the physics of jumping it's all about the center of mass. Fosbury won the NC Double A. Championship again in nineteen, sixty nine but never competed in high jump after that he set up an engineering company in Idaho. In nineteen seventy seven and attempted unsuccessfully to run for Congress in two thousand, fourteen today he is the county commissioner for Blaine County in Idaho. His name however lives on every time a high jumper anywhere in the world flops over a bar backwards. Executive producer of everything everywhere daily is James. Makhala? Special. Thanks to everyone who supports the show over on patron. Please remember to leave a review over on apple podcasts. Even a simple review can really help the show get discovered in the Sea of other podcasts that are out there.