From Track Scrub to Olympic Record Setter: Fosbury and His Flop | Summary and Q&A

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January 1, 2019
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Today I Found Out
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From Track Scrub to Olympic Record Setter: Fosbury and His Flop

TL;DR

The Fosbury Flop revolutionized high jump technique and became the gold standard due to its innovative approach.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did Dick Fosbury come up with the Fosbury Flop technique?

Fosbury developed the Fosbury Flop through experimentation and intuition. While competing, he used his engineering analytical side to refer to the technique as a 'back lay-out,' but it was later called the Fosbury Flop by a journalist.

Q: Why was the Fosbury Flop initially met with skepticism?

The Fosbury Flop was initially met with skepticism because it involved landing on the back, which was only made possible by the introduction of soft foam rubber landing pads.

Q: How did the Fosbury Flop become the gold standard in high jump technique?

Fosbury's success with the Fosbury Flop, along with the popularity of foam rubber landing pads, led to its widespread adoption by other high jumpers. Today, it is the preferred technique for high jump competitions.

Q: Why is the Fosbury Flop more effective than traditional high jump techniques?

The Fosbury Flop allows the jumper's center of gravity to remain below or near the bar throughout the jump, reducing the need for excessive leaping power. Traditional techniques require the center of gravity to be higher, making the Fosbury Flop more efficient and effective.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • In the 1960s, Dick Fosbury struggled with traditional high jump methods and began experimenting with different techniques.

  • Fosbury accidentally developed the Fosbury Flop, an innovative backwards, headfirst leap that allowed him to clear higher heights.

  • Soft foam rubber landing pads and Fosbury's success in breaking records popularized the technique, leading to its adoption by other jumpers.

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