Inventor of the "Fosbury flop
", the type of jump that radically changed the discipline of high jumping
in track and field
While the rest of the world was still jumping face forward (a.k.a. the "Western roll"), Fosbury reinvented the art of high jumping and won gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.
This remarkable jump would not have been possible without material improvements. Fosbury was wearing shoes with spikes on the back of the sole, that would allow him to jump backwards. Also, traditional jumping mats were pretty thin, but as the jumpers were able to jump higher and higher, they were improved significantly.
Nowadays, almost every jumper uses the technique invented by Fosbury. The last jumper holding a world record (7 ft. 8) that was set using a stradled type of jump was Volodomir Yashchenko, in 1978.