Dick Fosbury, the man who revolutionized the high jump in athletics, has died at the age of 76.
The American jumped backwards over the bars to win gold at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, which became known as the ‘Fosbury flop’ and is used by high jumpers today.
At the Games Fosbury set a then record of 2.24 m using his method.
Fosbury’s agent, Ray Schulte, wrote on Instagram that his client died on Sunday.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I have to release the news that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep Sunday morning after a short battle with a recurrence of lymphoma,” Schulte said. wrote.
“Dick will be greatly missed by friends and fans around the world. A true legend and friend to all.”
Fosbury began experimenting with the ‘flop’ at school and, encouraged by his instructors, had perfected it by the time he was in higher education.
In the 1968 Olympic high jump final, the 6 ft 5 in athlete cleared a distance of 2.24 m on his third attempt to win the gold.
“He changed the whole event forever with a technique that seemed strange at the time, but the result made it standard,” said the four-time Olympic champion and American. BBC pundit Michael Johnson.
Fosbury is survived by his wife, Robin Tomasi, son Erich, and stepdaughters Stephanie Thomas-Phipps and Kristin Thompson.
“In the passing of Dick Fosbury, our sport has lost a true legend and innovator.” USA Track and Field (USATF) said.
“He invented the ‘Fosbury flop,’ was a gold medalist at the 1968 Games, and remained an advocate for athletes throughout his life. Fosbury’s legacy will live on for generations to come.”
USATF chief executive Max Siegel said he was “deeply saddened” by Fosbury’s passing and called him a “true legend and pioneer in the world of track and field”.
He added: “We will be forever grateful for his contribution to sport and the impact he had on generations of athletes who followed in his footsteps.
“Dick will be greatly missed but his legacy will live on as an inspiration to all.”