Sunday, August 2, 2020

Get me Dick Fosbury!

[ If you are on a smartphone, view in landscape, hold sideways ]

The Fosbury Flop is a style used in the event of high jump. It was popularized and perfected by American athlete Dick Fosbury, whose gold medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City brought it to the world's attention.

The genius of the Fosbury Flop is that it allows the athlete to bend his or her back around the bar at the peak, causing the athletes body to clear the bar while his or her center of mass actually travels below the bar. 

Fosbury developed "the Flop" at the age of 16 after finding the standard techniques difficult. 

So, a few things:

Timing. Given that landing surfaces had previously been sandpits or low piles of matting, high jumpers of earlier years had to land on their feet to prevent injury. With the advent of deep foam matting, high jumpers were able to move to be more adventurous in their landing styles, and hence experiment with new styles of jumping. 

So, Dick Fosbury came along at a time in history where "the Flop" would not mean you would break your neck during (the less than forgiving) landing. 

On the world stage, Fosbury jumped, shockingly at the time, with his back to the bar. His head and shoulders cleared the high jump bar first, his legs and feet trailed. On October 20, 1968, 21 year old Dick Fosbury wins GOLD - and sets an Olympic record with "a Flop" that changed the sport - forever. 

The way that every serious high jumper does it now - they Flop. "I think quite a few kids will begin trying it my way now," he said when the Olympic Games were over. Within a decade, almost every elite high-jumper was doing it Fosbury's way. Since 1980, no one using any other technique has held the world record.

In sports, when you know better, you do better.

Especially in the global Olympics games. Every country, from all around the world, in competition. In 1968, the world was a witness to "the better way" to do the high jump. And you did not have to tell the world twice. 

Today, we are fighting a global pandemic. COVID-19 is ravaging the world. But the pandemic is especially rampant in the United States. As of today's numbers there are more cases of COVID-19 in the State of Florida, than in the entire European Union with 440M+ people. Let that sink in. 

Florida has more new cases of COVID-19 than the ENTIRE European Union. 

There is a "Dick Fosbury" of COVID-19. There are countries (right now, today) that are doing better than the United States in fighting COVID-19. WAY BETTER. The pandemic numbers don't lie. Today, the USA is not, not NOT the Dick Fosbury of pandemic management and mitigation. If fighting a pandemic was an Olympic Game, I don't even think the USA would get an honorable mention. 

The thing that I cannot understand, is why we (as a nation) don't copy, adapt or put into play the obvious better way to fight the pandemic. Other countries are "crushing it" in combating COVID-19. I mean, we are not talking about trying to win a GOLD MEDAL, we are talking about trying to save lives. 

America, where is our Dick Fosbury of COVID-19? 

[ Hint: they might be living in Europe, start there ]

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