Sunday, August 18, 2013

'Try something new...Try the 'Fosbury Flop'

There was once a bee that was stuck inside a glass house. After getting in through the front door when it was opened by one of the residents, the bee was now in the house. Soon the bee wanted to get out. It then approached a glass window nearby and thinking it was transparent, it kept flying right into it. It taught the window would break and it would fly out free then. 

The bee kept trying and trying. The continuous banging on the window was causing the bee some serious injury. There was a pillar next to the glass window, and there was another glass window next to that with a small opening that the bee could get through. But the bee refused to try an alternative solution and kept banging into that one glass window only. Soon the bee injured itself so much that it fell to its death. All the bee had to do was realize that this path was not working, to reflect on the situation and to look for an alternate or new path.

The Fosbury Flop 

 (Fosbury trying his revolutionary new technique)

Another story is that of Dick Fosbury.  He is often considered the most influential track and field athlete ever. He was a high jumper. In school he was taught the normal way of high jumping by his coach which was the straddle method. The straddle method was a leg first method, where the jumper would run up to the pole and then try jumping over the ropes using his or or her legs first. Dick was just 5"4 in height, and using the straddle method he could not even jump 5" in height. 

He decided to look for alternate paths. Soon he developed his own unique technique. He would run up to the high jump platform. Then instead of jumping over the stick leg first, he positioned his body parallel to the stick and jumped head first over the stick. The first few times he did this he reached heights of over 6 Feet. This was way more than the other high jumpers around him.

He soon consulted with his coached and tried his new jump at national events across the USA. Soon he started winning competition and got lots of attention for his high jumps. He was selected for the US Summer Olympics Team for the event in Mexico in 1968. By this time he had almost perfect his new jump which the media had called the 'Fosbury Flop'.

Dick Fosnury was brave enough to try something new and because of his courage to experiment with alternate path, he took the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics with a high jump of over 2.24 metres ( 7 feet 4.25 inches)

His Legacy

Four years later in the Olympic Event at Munich, 28 of the 40 high jumpers tried the fosbury flop. By 1980 13 of the 16 Olympic finalist used it. Between 1972 to 2000 of the 36 olympic medalists, 34 had used the fosbury flop. Today it has become one of the most popular high jumping techniques.

Fosbury tried an alternate path. The bee did not. It is not always true that the majority is always right. There are often various solutions to a single problem. Rather than pushing too hard, it will really benefit us if we take a step back and try an alternate path. Light a spark, try the Fosbury Flop!

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