Dick Fosbury’s Cause of Death: The High Jump Pioneer Who Defied Tradition Dies at 76

Olympic gold medalist, Dick Fosbury, died on 12th March 2023 at the age of 76. According to his publicist, Ray Schulte, his cause of death was his recurrence of Lymphoma.

With his one-of-a-kind combination of an angled run, a leap back, and a head-first fall, Fosbury won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. The “Fosbury Flop,” which he used to win, became the foundation for today’s high jumping techniques.

Who was Dick Fosbury?

Dick Fosbury was a former American high jumper who revolutionized the technique of high jumping by introducing the “Fosbury Flop.” This technique involves jumping over the bar backward, arching the back, and landing on the back.

Fosbury was born on March 6, 1947, in Portland, Oregon. He started participating in track and field events in high school, but his success was limited due to his inability to clear heights that were considered exceptional for his age.

In 1963, Fosbury started experimenting with a new high jump technique in which he approached the bar diagonally and jumped backward. After much practice, he perfected the technique and used it to win the NCAA championship in 1968.

Dick Fosbury's Cause of Death

Fosbury’s unconventional technique was initially met with skepticism from coaches and athletes alike, but it soon caught on and became the standard for high jumping. Fosbury’s technique allowed jumpers to clear greater heights with less risk of injury and has been used by all successful high jumpers since then.

Fosbury went on to represent the United States in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where he won the gold medal with a jump of 2.24 meters. He retired from competitive athletics in 1972 and later worked as an engineer and a coach.

Fosbury’s innovative technique has had a lasting impact on the sport of high jumping, and he was considered a legend in the world of track and field. He was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

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Dick Fosbury’s Cause of Death

“It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a brief recurrence of lymphoma,” Schulte wrote on Instagram.


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“The Track & Field legend is survived by his wife Robin Tomasi, and son Erich Fosbury, and stepdaughters Stephanie Thomas-Phipps of Hailey, Idaho, and Kristin Thompson.”

Fosbury won the gold and changed the sport forever by setting an Olympic record of 2.24 metres. As the back-first jump method gained popularity, more and more athletes started trying it.

“Dick Fosbury was always true to the Olympic values and served the Olympic Movement in a number of functions, including as President of World Olympians. He will forever be remembered as an outstanding Olympic Champion,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said.

Team USA posted on Twitter, “With his groundbreaking “Fosbury Flop” technique, Dick Fosbury not only won Olympic gold at Mexico City 1968 but also revolutionized the high jump. He was truly an Olympic pioneer and legend.”

World Athletics said in a statement: “Fosbury’s innovation took the high jump to another level and he remained involved in athletics throughout his life, sharing his knowledge and skill with future generations … He leaves a remarkable legacy.”

In conclusion, Dick Fosbury’s impact on the sport of high jumping cannot be overstated. By introducing and perfecting the “Fosbury Flop,” he revolutionized the technique of high jumping and set a new standard that all successful high jumpers have followed since then. 

Fosbury’s innovative approach not only allowed jumpers to clear greater heights but also reduced the risk of injury. He inspired a generation of athletes and became a legend in the world of track and field. 

Even after retiring from competitive athletics, Fosbury continued to make significant contributions to the sport as a coach and mentor to young athletes. His legacy is a testament to the power of creativity, determination, and perseverance in the face of adversity.