With the Olympics coming up in London, I've been wondering about Dick Fosbury from Oregon, who won the gold in the high jump in 1968. I understand he was from our area. Could you folks tell us a bit about him?
— John S., Medford
Indeed, the creator of the Fosbury Flop was from right here in River City, John.
It was while he was a sophomore at Medford Senior High School and attending a 1963 track meet in Grants Pass that young Dick Fosbury tried out a new style of high-jumping he had been working on. He turned his shoulders slightly backward and lifted his hips to clear a personal-best height of 5 feet 10 inches at that meet.
He ultimately perfected a head-first leap by approaching the bar in a semicircle, pushing off his left foot and landing on his back. And the Fosbury Flop become the worldwide standard for high-jumping.
He attended Oregon State University on a full-ride athletic scholarship. As a Beaver, he captured three Pacific-8 championships and two NCAA titles before winning the gold at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City with a record jump of 7 feet 41/4 inches.
After earning an engineering degree in 1972 at OSU, Fosbury moved to Ketchum, Idaho, in 1976 and founded an engineering firm.
In 1981, he was elected to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.