Freeman Cebu Sports


WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

The man who turned high jump upside down is dead. But not his legacy. Instead of instinctively jumping over the bar with a scissor kick, Dick Fosbury developed a distinctively uncanny method of jumping headfirst backwards over the bar.

It became known as the Fosbury Flop he perfected in time for the 1968 Mexico Olympics where he flopped to gold and dropped to a record 2.24 meters, higher than his 1.93-meter height. That high, that hard, but he made it look harder with a technique so unique, albeit unthinkable, even laughable at that time. But it worked wonders and wonderfully changed the sport altogether forever.

Although his record had been eclipsed many times over his successors, owe it to the flop that turned out the biggest hit in athletics, blockbuster even. This includes Cuban Javier Sotomayor who raised the record at 2.45 meters. It stayed unbreakable for the last thirty years it may need an entirely different technique to break.

Jumping is one basic human activity, just like running and throwing. Exactly why track and field used to be popular, especially in the Olympics. But his basic instinct taught him to be distinct to avoid being extinct.

Dead at 76, Fosbury taught us lessons not only in sport but also in life. His death reminds us that while he is immortalized to athletic innovation, he is mortalized by cancer the way it did to others, be it in sports, politics, entertainment or elsewhere. Mortality knows no boundary. Death is the certainty of life. The other is no longer taxes, but misery.

His unorthodox jump urges us to think out of the box. He unlearned high jump to learn how to jump higher and earn the highest distinction of having iconized the flop that brought him to the top.

For, tradition antiquates relevance, comfort stalls progress and fear refuses liberation. While national athletes play for history, there are men and women willing to die for the future, otherwise known as heroes. There was Andres Bonifacio who was more of a revolutionary and Jose Rizal who was more of a reformist and a few others who chose to revolutionize instead of institutionalize injustice of the present. They broke the barrier that separates life and death so others may live.

In local entertainment, a superstar who became national artist broke the color barrier in a country of brown people who feel inferior to white but superior to black people. A witty gay comedian broke the gender barrier and the standard of manners.

In world politics, the first black president broke the color barrier in a white country averse to people who don’t look like them. In this country, many politicians broke the barrier of qualifications to public service by entertaining rather than educating the electorate. Still in this country, the people mistake genuine change, otherwise known as revolution, for transfer of power, otherwise known as election. This is the flop that never flaps.


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with