HIGH JUMP HISTORY REWRITTEN
The Fosbury Flop turned
the high jump
world upside down in the '60s, but
guess what--Dick wasn't the first
by Jon Hendershott
It was an old grainy black
& white photo, but it stopped sportswriter Rial Cummings in his tracks.
Cummings was browsing through microfilm at his newspaper, the Missoulian,
when he happened across coverage of Montana's state high school meet.
There was the picture, showing
a high jumper sailing over the bar on his back in the now-standard flop
style. But the date shocked Cummings: May 24, 1963.
That was about the time
Oregonian Dick Fosbury first started laying back more and more as he
went over head first. And three years before Canadian teen Debbie Brill
began trying her own back-layout style.
The '63 Montana meet was four years before Fosbury first made the U.S.
listings with a 6-103/4 clearance as an Oregon State soph. And five
full seasons before he drew worldwide attention to the revolutionary
style by scaling an American Record 7-41/4 to strike gold at the '68
Olympics and change the event forever.
"The photo just blew me
away," recalls Cummings. "I had to learn this guy's story." The jumper
was Kalispell's Bruce Quande ("Kwahndy") and Cummings didn't have to
look far to find him. . .
For the rest of the story
on this amazing discovery, pick up a copy of the July issue of Track
& Field News.
2001-2002, Track & Field News