Fosbury to receive OSU honor

CORVALLIS — Former Medford High and Oregon State high jumper Dick Fosbury, an NCAA champion and 1968 Olympic gold medalist, will receive the E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award on Friday in a ceremony at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center.

The honor will be conferred by the OSU Alumni Association at its annual Spring Award Celebration.

The OSU Alumni Association established the E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award to recognize and honor former OSU students who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments and careers have brought credit to OSU.

The inventor of the “Fosbury Flop” style of high jumping as a student at OSU, Fosbury won the gold medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics by clearing 7-4.25, an Olympic and American record at that time.

Fosbury was the 1968 and 1969 NCAA champion and placed second at the 1969 AAU meet. He graduated from OSU in 1972 with a civil engineering degree.

Fosbury revolutionized the high jump by replacing the traditional approach with his backward style, consisting of a curved running approach, a modified scissor jump, and a back layout.

He landed on his lower neck and shoulders, which led to another innovation — the introduction of padded landing mats to replace the traditional sand landing pit.

He is a member of the Medford Sports Hall of Fame, the Pacific-12 Conference’s All-Century men’s track & field team, the OSU Sports Hall of Fame, the State of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, the U.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame and the World Humanitarian Hall of Fame.

Fosbury retired after a 40-year career in engineering in 2011 and currently lives near Bellevue, Idaho. He is the treasurer of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Association. 

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