Wednesday 25 January 2017

The Fosbury Flop: How You Can Win Gold By Doing Things Differently

"Be clear about your goal, but be flexible about the process of attaining it.' 
(Brian Tracy)

American high jumper Dick Fosbury's dream was to win an Olympic medal.  Fosbury had struggled with the belly roll, the accepted technique used by high jumpers at the time.  He didn't like the scissors technique either.   While his results were mediocre, he wasn't prepared to give up on his dream.

One day he decided to shake things up.  The 6 foot 4 inch athlete approached the bar, and then turned his back to it, vaulting over the bar and arching his back, and landing on his neck and shoulders.  While the high jumper touched new heights, his unconventional technique met with much criticism.  The Medford Mail-Tribune ran a photo with the caption:  "Fosbury Flops over Bar".   Another newspaper claimed that Fosbury resembled "a fishing flopping in a boat".  A third called him the "world's laziest jumper".  Even Fosbury's coach told him to use the technique only as Plan B.

However, the Fosbury Flop had been born.  With his new form, Fosbury reached 6 foot 10 inches, and broke the school record.  He went on to win the NCAA championship.  In 1968, he wasn't the favourite heading into the Olympic Games in Mexico City; in fact, he was the last to be picked for the team.  On game day, Fosbury used his flop and vaulted over the bar at 7.35 feet, earning him an Olympic record and a place at the top of the podium.  (

Dick Fosbury never gave up on his dream.  He simply tweaked the process.  Are you trying to achieve a goal?  Try coming at it from another angle.  You, too, might invent a Fosbury Flop.

Dick Fosbury wins gold in Mexico City Olympics circa 1968 courtesy

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