American Olympic champion athlete Dick Fosbury has died at the age of 76, his former agent has confirmed. The revolutionary high-jump star is renowned for inventing a technique widely known as the Fosbury Flop.
Ray Schulte wrote in an Instagram post on Monday (March 13) announcing the sad news: “It is with a very heavy heart I have to release the news that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a short bout with a recurrence of lymphoma.
“The track and field legend is survived by his wife, Robin Tomasi, and son, Erich Fosbury, and stepdaughters Stephanie Thomas-Phipps and Kristin Thompson. Dick will be greatly missed by friends and fans from around the world. A true legend, and friend of all!”
Reacting to the news, a USA Track & Field (USATF) spokesperson said: “Our sport lost a true legend and innovator today.” The statement was accompanied by a video in which Fosbury could be seen discussing his work as a coach and mentoring young athletes.
Fellow Olympic champions also rushed to pay emotional tributes to Dick Fosbury, with four-time winning sprinter Michael Johnson saying: “The world legend is probably used too often, Dick Fosbury was a true LEGEND! He changed an entire event forever with a technique that looked crazy at the time but the result made it the standard.”
Fosbury shot to fame during the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City when he won a gold medal in a high-jump final that lasted over four hours. The Oregon sportstar did not compete in the games again, but cemented his legacy with the famous Fosbury Flop.
The technique involved jumping backwards and arching his back over the bar. This went against the norm of high-jump orthodoxy and has since dominated the sport worldwide.