Dick Fosbury, a 1972 graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in civil engineering, was born in Portland, Ore., but grew up in Medford. According to Dick, the unique high-jump technique that he created was born not of the will to win, but the will to not lose, and is now the universal technique used by high jumpers everywhere.
In Dick’s own words from an April 30, 2014 interview with the Olympic Channel, he was the worst on his team and the league in the high jump. Through frustration and a focus to succeed, Fosbury honed his now world-renowned approach on the infield of Medford High School at the age of 16. Within a day, his body had caught up to his mind’s vision and he had improved half a foot on his jumps.
This success earned him a scholarship to Oregon State. While a junior in Corvallis, likely known then as the Best College Town in the Pac-8, Fosbury competed in the Olympic Games held in Mexico City. It was there that the world was introduced to what is now known as the Fosbury Flop. Dick flopped his way to a gold medal, and an American and Olympic record in the high jump.
Beyond all of the accolades, accomplishments, and adoration, Fosbury is most notably an innovator. His literal and figurative approach to his sport transcended the sport itself, and will continue to influence athletes for generations to come.
The definition of innovative is being or producing something like nothing done or experienced before; ahead of the times. Innovative is Dick Fosbury.