Author, Bob Welch, shared four life lessons we can learn from high-jumper, Dick Fosbury, whom Welch profiles in his soon-to-be-released book, “The Wizard of Foz: Dick Fosbury’s One-Man High-Jump Revolution” (Skyhorse publishing, New York, hardback, $24.99).
“Welch does a masterful job … makes an important contribution to the history of innovation in American Sports.”
Bob Welch is a native Oregonian who graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Oregon. Bob wrote for papers in Bend, Oregon and Bellevue, Washington before landing his “dream job” at the Register Guard in Eugene, where he built most of his career. He is now an accomplished author and speaker with several published books. Bob’s new book covers the life and history of Dick Fosbury, who invented an offbeat style (“the flop”) that ultimately won him a gold medal and revolutionized the event of high jumping. No jumpers today use any other style but his.
Bob’s book covers Fosbury’s success and the extraordinary trials he faced along the way from losing a brother to flunking college. Bob says, “Fosbury cleared far more obstacles than a high-jump bar.”
“Welch begins his chapters with the greatest collection of stirring epigrams I’ve ever found in a single work. That means it is a history filled with the suffering of pursuing a new idea in a world fanatically ready to doubt. It is about the power of invention, and the need for wisdom in teachers confronted by that invention. Fosbury and our society have needed decades to be able to fully tell or accept Dick’s story. Now it is done, and Welch does magnificent justice to it all.” — Kenny Moore, Olympic marathoner, former Sports Illustrated writer, and author of Bowerman and the Men of Oregon
Bob says that Fosbury is a great example of someone who doesn’t put all his eggs in one basket, but in fact values being “an ordinary guy”. Fosbury became a civil engineer and took advantage of a lot of other opportunities over the year that you can read about in the book. He is now a USA Olympic Hall of Famer who travels the world, inspiring athletes and others while promoting track and field. He lives on a horse farm in Idaho.
The Four Fosbury Life Lessons:
- The value of imagination…thinking outside the box. The best example of this is “the Fosbury Flop”.
- The value of desperation…there’s a lot to be said for coming up with solutions when we’re desperate. Fosbury used the pain in his life to find a way to feel good. It felt good to high jump and he found a way to make it work for him. He was an upbeat guy.
- The value of dedication…Fosbury was the toughest athlete on the track and did whatever it would take to get himself over the bar.
- The value of re-education…he was willing to broaden his perspective and re-evaluate his life and he’s always been open to new opportunities and ideas.