When creative success is a great leap

Fosbury was victorious at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and his way of jumping became the new standard among athletes. Mockery of the unknown gave way to widespread use of the innovation.

It is likely that when Dick Fosbury stood opposite the bar nothing else was contemplated other than jumping forwards. Central roll, western roll or scissors style, are all synonyms in the end for overcoming the unreachable height by leaping horizontally and face down.Fosbury, however, had his sights set on the sky.

The young US athlete was the pioneer in doing the high jump as we know it now, that is, clearing the bar backwards, arching the back, thus moving away from the centre of gravity and gaining elevation in the air. It is what is known as the “Fosbury flop”.

Mockery of the unknown gave way to widespread use of the innovation. Fosbury was victorious at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and his way of jumping became the new standard among athletes.It was shown that the backwards jump was a more effective way of gaining height and this procedure, which provoked so much laughter at first, came to monopolise the discipline.Today there is no other method in use.

Fosbury did not win again and soon retired after failing to qualify for the next Olympic Games. Maybe he was not the most gifted jumper, but his victory lay in daring to change.

Dick Fosbury