On this day - October 20th

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Fosbury is not a flop

The Mexico Olympic Games, 1968 and on October 20th, US athlete Disck Fosbury wins the gold medal in the High Jump with a jump of 2.24metres.

The revolutionary style he introduced is known as the Fosbury Flop.

Over the next few years, the flop became the dominant style of the event and remains so today. Before Fosbury, most elite jumpers used the straddle technique, Western Roll, Eastern cut-off or scissors jump to clear the bar. Given that landing surfaces had previously been sandpits or low piles of matting, high jumpers of earlier years had to land on their feet or at least land carefully to prevent injury. With the advent of deep foam matting high jumpers were able to be more adventurous in their landing styles and hence experiment with styles of jumping.

The approach (or run-up) in the Flop style of high jump is characterized by (at least) the final four or five steps being run in a curve, allowing the athlete to lean into his or her turn, away from the bar. This allows the centre of gravity to be lowered even before knee flexion, giving a longer time period for the take-off thrust. Additionally, on take-off the sudden move from inward lean to outwards produces a rotation of the jumper's body along the axis of the bar, aiding clearance.

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