Today, the standard high jumping technique is called the 'Fosbury Flop', but it might well have been named the 'Fosbury Fluke'!
In 1963, as a schoolboy in Oregon, U.S.A., Dick Fosbury just could not master the traditional 'straddle' style of high jumping. In this method, a high jumper approaches the bar and springs up, swinging the outside arm and leg outwards and upwards. Then he kicks the other leg up to take it over the bar. Fosbury persuaded the coach to let him use his own technique of jumping just for one high school athletics meet.
At the meet, Fosbury turned his back to the bar, flipped his head and shoulders over first and his feet last! He cleared 2 metres, amazing everyone, including himself. The 'Fosbury Flop' was born. Fosbury's daring innovation which he perfected over the years, won him the high school national championship and later, two national athletics championships.
A hush fell over the entire stadium in the Mexico Olympics in 1968 when 21-year-old Fosbury went over the bar at 2.24 m, an Olympic record. At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, all three medallists used Dick Fosbury's technique. Today, every high jumper is a Fosbury Flopper.