Fosbury Flop dazzles crowd, earns Olympic gold

Updated: October 17, 2005, 4:33 PM ET
By Larry Schwartz | Special to

Oct. 20, 1968

Dick Fosbury goes about his business differently than other high jumpers. While his competitors swing their right foot up and over the bar, the 21-year-old from Oregon pivots his right leg back and slides over the crossbar with an unorthodox backward flip.

The Olympics marks the international debut of the celebrated "Fosbury Flop" and Fosbury delights the capacity crowd of 80,000 in Mexico City with his technique. He doesn't miss a jump through 7 feet, 3 1/4 inches and then wins the gold medal with a personal best of 7-4 1/4. With the then-Olympic record already in hand, Fosbury attempts to break Valery Brumel's world mark of 7-5 3/4, but he misses three times at 7-6 1/4.

Fosbury gives the United States its 15th and final gold medal in track and field.

By 1980, 13 of the 16 Olympic finalists will be using the "Fosbury Flop."