Brill Bend or Fosbury Flop, which came first?


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Brill Bend or Fosbury Flop, which came first?

Postby Daisy » Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:13 am

i was reading through an old (1974) Athletics annual that Ron Pickering used to write each year for UK athletics. One feature was a series of photos featuring Meyfarths winning (Flop) HJ in 1972 compared to Blagoyeva straddle (there were also sequences of a Borsov start in the 200m and Rod Milburn hurdling).

The small print for the Meyfarth shot mentioned that the flop was probably developed first by Debbie Brill despite being named for Dick Fosbury. Anyone know the full story about this?
Last edited by Daisy on Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby tafnut » Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:20 am

This is probably still contentious, since both claim to have come up with it independently, more or less at the same time. And there is actually someone else, much earlier, that claims to have preceded them. I doubt there is one clear answer.

I saw it in Oct 68 on TV and started practicing it that winter on my own as a senior in HS and went from 5'4 to 6' in 2 months. But then in the spring I had to contend with a few sawdust pits and had to bring my own foam rubber bags to away meets. Some officials tried to DQ me, but luckily even the opposing coaches had seen it in Mexico City. It was definitely a fun time to be a flopper!
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Postby gh » Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:22 am

I'll get back to the history part later, but note that her style was known as the Brill Bend....
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Postby Daisy » Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:27 am

tafnut wrote: It was definitely a fun time to be a flopper!

Fun? It sounds like you needed a death wish with the equipment you were just describing!

i just did a bit of research after my initial post and discovered the Brill Bend was the popular name for Debbie's version. I can believe that both Fosbury and Brill developed it at the same time (similar to Darwin and Wallace with regard to natural selection). i can also see why the "Fosbury Flop" would stick as the common name for the technique since he won gold at Mexico City. Was Brill in Mexico City? She would have been 15 years old.

Edit: Just saw your post GH, re: Brill Bend. I also changed the thread title to reflect this info.

Edit II: Armed with the Brill Bend info I found another good thread from the TFN archives.
http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/discus ... 234#168234
Summary of the thread is that Dick Fosbury predated Brill although she was unaware of his technique and developed it independantly. Also there were others, even as early as the thirties experimenting with the technique but a rule against jumping head first made it an illegal technique.

Thus, my question should probably now be modified to:
Part 1) When did the rules change that allowed a head first technique to be used legally?
Part 2) How long did Dick Fosbury (and tafnut) have to travel to events with their own landing mat?
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Postby lonewolf » Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:37 pm

I saw Debbie Brill bending at an indoor meet in Calgary in winter 1968, after the Olympics, but the pub was that she had been using that technique since she was 14.
A friend on the Canadian Olympic Committee said Bob Beamon was paid appearance money . He did not show or return the money.
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Postby JohnG » Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:40 am

Anyone remember that US LJ'er who used to do a mid-air forward somersault? It was in the early mid 70s and I've got a photo somewhere (possibly the Ron Pickering annual that Daisy referred to). I think the technique was banned.
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Postby tafnut » Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:16 am

JohnG wrote:Anyone remember that US LJ'er who used to do a mid-air forward somersault? It was in the early mid 70s and I've got a photo somewhere (possibly the Ron Pickering annual that Daisy referred to). I think the technique was banned.


Bruce Jenner used it for awhile.
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Postby dj » Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:56 am

JohnG wrote:Anyone remember that US LJ'er who used to do a mid-air forward somersault? It was in the early mid 70s and I've got a photo somewhere (possibly the Ron Pickering annual that Daisy referred to). I think the technique was banned.


The jumper was a New Zealander competing for Washington State: John Delamere.
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Postby noone » Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:32 am

And ca. 1960 Bob Avant was using a "reverse flop", i.e. a facing forward flop.
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Postby lonewolf » Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:47 am

I know a university track coach who admits to experimenting with somersault in its heyday.. said he instantly went from a 26 foot jumper to a 24 foot jumper. . did not pursue it.
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Postby tafnut » Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:29 pm

The dim recesses of my mind (no comments!) recall that Jenner hit 24' with the somersault and claimed he consistently went farther with it. Yes/no/maybe so?
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Postby mojo » Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:42 pm

Debbie started using the flop in 1965-my DH filmed her using it -the first time he had ever seen it. He did not know about Fosbury then and he was very involved in the sport.

Later that year DH competed against Fosbury in Oregon and saw that he was using the same technique as Debbie.

We still have the old footage. 8)
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Postby mrbowie » Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:27 pm

noone wrote:And ca. 1960 Bob Avant was using a "reverse flop", i.e. a facing forward flop.


I saw Avant jump for USC many times and I don't follow what you mean or are trying to say.

Splain yourself, Lucy.
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Postby Per Andersen » Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:31 pm

mojo wrote:Debbie started using the flop in 1965-my DH filmed her using it -the first time he had ever seen it. He did not know about Fosbury then and he was very involved in the sport.

Later that year DH competed against Fosbury in Oregon and saw that he was using the same technique as Debbie.

We still have the old footage. 8)

In Debbie's book "Jump" she mentions an old grainy film from 1967 where she can see an outline of her future style. By 1967, she says. it was clearly a backwards jump.
From her book, at least, it does not seem likely that she was "backwards jumping" as early as 1965 when she was 12.

When Fosbury was a junior in High school in 1964, his technique had developed to a point where his back was intersecting the bar at a 45- degree angle.
By his senior year in 1965, he had attained the full 90- degree angle.

They were both pioneers but one of them had to bee first and I believe it was Fosbury.
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Postby MJD » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:54 am

Per, are you calling mojo a liar? Canuck food fight.
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Postby EPelle » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:56 am

He who is not guilty, cast the first head of lettuce.
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Postby MJD » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:02 am

I think mojo will have the upper grill here.
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Postby mojo » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:50 am

My DH is sure it was 1965. Debbie may well have been 12. I just looked at the tape and she looks very young. . My DH is going to put it on to a video CD in a couple of weeks.(he will be away until then) If you PM me Per I can send you a copy.

We know Debbie-DH did a lovely painting of her and her DD. We also gave Debbie a copy of the tape (There are three jumps of hers on it) and she was thrilled to get it. Debbie had not seen the tape when she wrote her book. Of course she would know best but DH says it was 1965 beacsue he was injured all of 1967 and he jumped at the meet in the tape.

I don't think Per is calling me a liar, just questioning the year. And of course being that it was so long ago it would be easy to mix up dates. DH could be mistaken on the year but he sure seems to think it was then.

I wasn't there . I am married to an old guy! :P :P
Last edited by mojo on Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:51 am

[quote="mrbowie"][quote="noone"]And ca. 1960 Bob Avant was using a "reverse flop", i.e. a facing forward flop.[/quote]

I saw Avant jump for USC many times and I don't follow what you mean or are trying to say.

Splain yourself, Lucy.[/quote]

I 'll chip in here. Avant ran fairly straight at the bar , took off on his foot closest to the bar, just like all straddlers, but then went up with the arms and head first, with rest of torso and feet following. It was in effect a straight dive, chest/stomach facing the bar all the way. One real year of fame as he jumped 7 feet even twice in 1961 and beat Thomas on fewer misses in AAU champs at that height. I eye witnessed this win at Randalls Island in NYC.
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Postby SQUACKEE » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:52 am

Actually they're both lying. Shortly before Al Gore invented the internet he was a flopping in his back yard. Use to land on 3-4 queen size mattress's. Some with horrible stains on them. :x
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Postby Jon » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:56 am

Sorry to intrude here, but a quick note to dukehjsteve - click on the 'profile' link at the top of this page. Then scroll down to the option that says "Always allow BB code", and make sure 'yes' is selected. Then your quote boxes will show up properly. :wink:
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Postby mojo » Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:01 am

The tape is of the very first meet Debbie went in. Her runup was so tentative and she is so cute- all legs and quite gangly.

The technique is there though. The pits are just the crummiest things you have ever seen too. :shock: :shock:


Debbie lived way out the countryside. She had no knowledge of what was happening in the sport-certainly she had never even heard of Fosbury.

As I said my husband was very involved in the sport and Debbie was the first person he had ever seen in a meet doing the flop.
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Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:24 am

Jon wrote:Sorry to intrude here, but a quick note to dukehjsteve - click on the 'profile' link at the top of this page. Then scroll down to the option that says "Always allow BB code", and make sure 'yes' is selected. Then your quote boxes will show up properly. :wink:


Jon, thank you for that. I have wondered how that's done. Now , let's see if it works !

Edit to add... it did ! Thanks Jon !!!
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Postby Jon » Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:30 am

dukehjsteve wrote:
Jon wrote:Sorry to intrude here, but a quick note to dukehjsteve - click on the 'profile' link at the top of this page. Then scroll down to the option that says "Always allow BB code", and make sure 'yes' is selected. Then your quote boxes will show up properly. :wink:


Jon, thank you for that. I have wondered how that's done. Now , let's see if it works !

Edit to add... it did ! Thanks Jon !!!

No worries :)
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Postby mojo » Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:11 am

Per or anyone else who would like to see Debbie's jump- you can PM me with your email address and later today I can send you video (If all goes well technically) of her jump. We have three-one from 1965, 1967 and 1968.

We are under the impression that she just forgot about these very early meets as there was no tape of them that she knew of until she met up with DH 5 years ago.
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Postby gh » Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:58 am

Bruce Quande flopped at the '63 Montana State HS meet. Story and picture in the July '00 edition of T&FN.

My high school coach said he saw a guy do it in Germany in the '30s, although the head-over-first was illegal at the time.

As is so often the case, there is nothing new under the sun.
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Postby SQUACKEE » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:41 am

gh wrote:Bruce Quande flopped at the '63 Montana State HS meet. Story and picture in the July '00 edition of T&FN.

My high school coach said he saw a guy do it in Germany in the '30s, although the head-over-first was illegal at the time.

As is so often the case, there is nothing new under the sun.


Did this jumper land in a sawdust pit?
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Postby marknhj » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:09 pm

I've just watched mojo's tape - it's a fascinating piece of T&F history despite the debate about who did it first.
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Postby mojo » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:18 pm

marknhj wrote:I've just watched mojo's tape - it's a fascinating piece of T&F history despite the debate about who did it first.


Who knows who did it first?
The cool thing is that neither knew that the other was doing it.

Like I said a million times Debbie had no knowledge about track and field (and no interest) . She just did what felt natural to her.

Oh and read this article on Debbie. If you notice she joined the local club at 12. The footage we have is her very first meet. She told us that.

http://www.mcaws.gov.bc.ca/whm/women_sport/d_brill.htm

Case closed!!! :P
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Postby Jon » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:09 am

I just saw the vid too and it's fascintating.

The vid Per mentioned from Debbie's book sounds as though it's taken from a later meet than the one mojo is offering to send out to people.
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Postby tafnut » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:24 am

I saw mojo's tape and was struck by how many things she did 'wrong' (by today's technical standards) and still jumped well. Her approach was straight in, she initially used little speed, and her shoulders were at about a 20 degree rotation at initial bar clearance. Who knows who did it first, but Fosbury's version, which he apparently developed in high school, is virtually the same as what we see many good floppers use today. His 'two arms at his side' clearance was distinctive though. Most jumpers today have at least one arm extended.
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Postby mojo » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:29 am

Debbie was a 12 year old who had started the sport a few weeks before that tape. She did not proper coaching for a few years after that. By 16 she was jumping 6 feet .


Sheesh. :P
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Postby tafnut » Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:26 pm

mojo wrote:Debbie was a 12 year old who had started the sport a few weeks before that tape. She did not proper coaching for a few years after that.


ay, and there's the rub, how COULD she have 'proper coaching' when no coach had any technical knowledge of her style?! She had to develop it all on her own and still be awesome! (is that better, mojo? :roll: :wink: :D )
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Postby mojo » Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:11 pm

tafnut wrote:
mojo wrote:Debbie was a 12 year old who had started the sport a few weeks before that tape. She did not proper coaching for a few years after that.


ay, and there's the rub, how COULD she have 'proper coaching' when no coach had any technical knowledge of her style?! She had to develop it all on her own and still be awesome! (is that better, mojo? :roll: :wink: :D )


Slightly.
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Postby Per Andersen » Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:03 pm

tafnut wrote:
mojo wrote:Debbie was a 12 year old who had started the sport a few weeks before that tape. She did not proper coaching for a few years after that.


ay, and there's the rub, how COULD she have 'proper coaching' when no coach had any technical knowledge of her style?! She had to develop it all on her own and still be awesome! (is that better, mojo? :roll: :wink: :D )

Same deal with Fosbury. Which coach today would have instructed him to keep his inside (left) arm almost straight down during take-off?
It is always strange to see Inga Babakova still using that arm technique.

I am probably the only one who has not been able to open mojo's video yet (No surprise there, knowing me)
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Postby Daisy » Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:17 pm

Per Andersen wrote:I am probably the only one who has not been able to open mojo's video yet (No surprise there, knowing me)

Per, are you using a MAC? If so, try the free VLC media player. It worked for me.
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Postby cullman » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:14 pm

mojo wrote:Debbie was a 12 year old who had started the sport a few weeks before that tape.

Thanks for the clip, mo. It's fascinating stuff. Her technique is quite evolved and intuitively she got so many things right. 8)

BTW, I got it to open on my MAC. Thanks for the software heads-up Daisy. :P
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Postby mojo » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:23 pm

Glad you enjoyed it C man.
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Postby MJD » Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:55 pm

Daisy wrote:
Per Andersen wrote:I am probably the only one who has not been able to open mojo's video yet (No surprise there, knowing me)

Per, are you using a MAC? If so, try the free VLC media player. It worked for me.


Or just save it to your hard drive and open it with Windows Media Player.
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