Oregon State lost one of its most iconic athletes today, as former Beaver Dick Fosbury passed away Monday morning. Fosbury, a high jumper whose signature ‘Fosbury Flop’ revolutionized the sport, was 76 years old.
Fosbury developed his high jumping technique in high school, when he realized he could achieve greater heights by going over the bar backwards and head first. By the time he began attending Oregon State, in 1965, he had refined his method, and broke a school record by jumping 6 feet 10 inches in his first meet.
In 1968 Fosbury represented the United States at the Mexico City Summer Olympics. In an incredibly competitive event, Fosbury jumped 7 feet 4 1⁄4 inches. That didn’t just win him the gold medal, but also broke an Olympic record.
After his athletic career ended, Fosbury relocated to Ketchum, Idaho where he worked as a civil engineer. The Fosbury Flop took over the high jump, becoming by far the most common technique used in the event.
Fosbury was a lifelong advocate for the role of sport in enriching lives.