Tag Archive | "Dick Fosbury"

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Fosbury Flop

Life is replete with obstacles, some physical, but many more psychological.  These barriers restrain us geographically, economically, socially, spiritually, and in others ways that, perhaps, we do not even perceive.  Some obstacles are societal or cultural in nature – the result of a general consensus of thought; others are imposed by individuals and impact only that person and those in his or her immediate sphere of influence.

 

Prior to May 6, 1954, it was generally believed that no one could run a mile in less than four minutes.  On that afternoon at Iffley Road Track at Oxford University in England, Roger Bannister belied that consensus of thought – becoming the first man to run a sub-four-minute mile.  Only two years old at the time of Bannister’s achievement, New Zealander John Walker shattered the 3 minute 50 second mile mark twenty-two years later and ran 129 sub-four-minute miles in his running career.  American Steve Scott has 136 sub-four-minute miles to his credit.

 

In the 1960’s, American athlete Dick Fosbury developed and perfected a technique used in the high jump track and field event.  At the 1968 Olympic Games, he stunned the world, employing his technique, dubbed the “Fosbury Flop,” to win a Gold Medal in the high jump.  After his Olympic performance, his technique rapidly became the dominant style in the sport and remains so to this day.

 

Roger Bannister, Dick Fosbury, and others like them are modern-era pioneers, venturing into realms previously untraversed, breaking barriers and expanding the limits of human accomplishment.  While their achievements were personal in nature, they opened new opportunities for others by demonstrating the possibilities.  And so, not merely in athletics but in medicine, science, technology, philosophy, and every avenue of human endeavor, a breakthrough by one person opens the flood gates to achievements by many.

 

In point of fact, every obstacle – no matter how seemingly insignificant – that each one of us surmounts in our lifetimes benefits both ourselves and others.  When we overcome a fear, learn a new skill, or elevate our consciousness, we demonstrate a new ability.  Then, others – observing and recognizing our demonstrations – aspire to such demonstration themselves and realize their own potential in that particular area as well as other areas of life.

 

Without demonstration or role models in our lives, we can easily fall prey to our doubts and fears.  Doubt and fear inform us that we are incapable of attaining our aspirations, or that our goals themselves are impossible.  The end result is that we each create our own barriers to achievement of our dreams and more fulfilling, meaningful lives. 

 

When, however, we witness others like ourselves, who conquer their doubts and achieve their goals, we realize that we are capable of the same.  For that reason, the first college or professional school graduate within a family often unlocks the potential of his younger siblings or relatives.

 

How often do we observe children who grow up and “follow in the footsteps” of their parents? Achievement begets achievement and likewise the converse.  Most of us are not trailblazers; we require the demonstration of others whom we know to prove to us our own capabilities.  Yet, if we only realized the hidden reserve of power within each of us, we need not await a demonstration by another.

 

We can, each one of us, move mountains both figuratively and literally – if we realize it.  Should we tap into our inner reservoirs and achieve that which seemed difficult or impossible to us, we will surely benefit both ourselves and others – perhaps, the whole of mankind.  Even a flop can move others to succeed.

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