What is the Fosbury Flop?

Sounds like an ice cream twirl right? But it isn’t.

It’s actually a style used by athletes all over the world when it comes to the high jump. 

And here’s the story of how it came to exist: 

Until the Fosbury Flop the customary way for a high jumper to cross the bar was with their body parallel to it, and most elite jumpers used either the straddle technique, Western Roll or even the scissors jump.

But then came along a lanky twenty something year old Dick Fosbury and he changed all that. 

Being known as a lousy straddler Fosbury tried the most common of methods but always fell short of passing the bar.

He then began to apply some knowledge and mechanics to various forms of the jump until he realised that by arching his back, which was different to how every other athlete did it, it kept his centre of gravity below the bar and the lower one’s centre of gravity is the less energy is required to successfully jump over the bar.

At the Olympic Games in Mexico the critics looked upon Fosbury as the two legged camel and he was quickly dismissed as a curiosity.

But when it came to the crunch he ran up to the bar, took off but instead of turning his body towards the bar, he turned his back on it, brought his legs up and flipped over the bar backwards. 

Fosbury set the world record on that day jumping a height of 7ft 41/4 inches. 

He jumped higher than any man before. And he did that by thinking the opposite from everyone else. 

Sometimes common sense doesn’t work and requires another angle; to look at things from a different perspective, whether it’s in business, in art or in politics, flipping a thing (an athlete) or an idea on it’s head can reveal something else that we haven’t thought of. 

So, next time you’re stuck with a quandary ask yourself the question –

‘How high can I jump?’

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