Kenya’s epic jumpers present a history of high jumping before Dick Fosbury flopped



BEFORE Dick Fosbury (above) flopped in the mid-1960s, high jumpers took on the bar with a scissors kick. They went high. You can still clear a high bar with the old pre-Fosby method. In this video, Kenyan high school students show us how it’s done. They land in sand pits:

Fosbury took the high jump gold medal in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Now everyone Flops.  

But before that…


Athletics – London Olympic Games 1908 – Men’s Standing High Jump.USA’s Ray Ewry clears the bar to win gold, his tenth Olympic gold in all (including two at the 1906 unofficial games). Date: 20/07/1908



Athletics – St Louis Olympic Games 1904 – Standing High Jump. USA’s Ray Ewry clears the bar to win gold, one of ten Olympic golds he collected during his career. Date: 01/06/1904


Natl Womens Track Shiley 1931. Jean Shiley of Philadelphia, Pa., winner of the running high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches, is shown in action during the running of the National Women’s Track and Field Championships at Pershing Field, Jersey City, N.J., July 25, 1931. Date: 25/07/1931


Athletics – Paris Olympic Games 1924 – Men’s High Jump. USA’s Harold Osborn clears the bar to win gold with a leap of 1.98m.Date: 20/07/1924


Athletics – London Olympic Games 1908 – Standing High Jump – Final – White City. USA’s F Leroy Holmes clears the bar. Date: 23/07/1908


Athletics – Los Angeles Olympic Games 1932 – Men’s High Jump. Duncan McNaughton, Canada, gold medallist Date: 10/08/1932


Athletics – Los Angeles Olympic Games 1932 – Men’s High Jump. Robert van Osdel, USA, silver medallist Date: 10/08/1932


Australia’s Jack Winters jumps in the men’s Olympic Games High Jump competition, at Wembley Stadium, London, July 30, 1948. He qualified for the next round of the competition. Date: 30/07/1948


Athletics – London Olympic Games 1948 – Men’s High Jump – Qualifying – Empire Stadium, Wembley. Kuuno Honkonen fails to clear the high jump, in the qualifying trials at the Empire Stadium, Wembley Date: 30/07/1948


Athletics – Fourth British Empire Games – Men’s High Jump – Eden Park, Auckland Peter Wells of England in final practice for the Men’s High Jump. He came fifth with a height of 1.93m. Date: 10/02/1950


Dorothy Tyler practises the new style of jumping called the Western roll. Date: 13/07/1951



Bill Russell, All-American at the University of San Francisco, is shown mid-air in the high jump competition at the Track and Field meet in Los Angeles, Ca., June 1, 1956. Russell, who has cleared 6-9 1/4 this season, tied for third place at 6-6 1/4. Note he is missing one shoe. Date: 01/06/1956


Athletics – Annual Sports Day – Langley Park, Beckenham. L White, winner of the high jump. Date: 14/07/1957


Charles Dumas soars to a new world record with a leap of 7 feet, 1/2 inch during men’s high jump competition, at the Olympic Track and Field Trials in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 29, 1956.  Date: 29/06/1956


Athletics – 6th British Empire and Commonwealth Games – Cardiff – Mens High Jump. Crawford W. Fairbrother of Scotland. Date: 24/07/1958


6th British Empire and Commonwealth Games – Cardiff – Mens High Jump. Colin Ridgeway of Australia. Date: 24/07/1958





High jumper Dick Fosbury of the United States is shown in October 1968, debuting his celebrated “Fosbury Flop,” during the Summer Olympics in Mexico City. “The Flop” revolutionized high jumping, and Fosbury went on to win the gold medal with a leap of 7 feet and 4 and 1/4 inches.


Dick Fosbury of Oregon State, jumping in his unusual style, clears the bar to match the NCAA track championship record of seven feet in Detroit. He dethroned former champion Ted Downing of Ohio. Date: 16/03/1968


Dick Fosbury of Oregon State exhibited this unusual form as he floated over the bar at 6 feet 8 inches in high jump against the University of California at Berkeley. Fosbury placed second to OSU’s Steve Kelly who cleared the same height, but was awarded first on fewer misses. Date: 20/03/1967


Oregon State University’s Dick Fosbury sails over the high jump bar using his unique backward style during a OSU-University track meet in Seattle, Washington. His top jump of 6ft. 8 1/2 inches won the event, and Oregon state won the meet. Date: 22/04/1967


Oregon State University’s pace setting Dick Fosbury rolls over the high jump bar at 7 feet 2 1/4 inches to set a new meet mark at the NCAA track and field championships at University of California’s Edwards field in Berkley. Date: 15/06/1968




American athlete Dick Fosbury, in this combo, shows the style he used to win the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Oct. 20, 1968. Fosbury set a new Olympic record using the style called the “Fosbury Flop”.


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