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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 22:54 GMT 23:54 UK
Olympic countdown: 68 days
Altitude altered performances in 1968

Dick Fosbury uses his 'flop' technique in Mexico
Dick Fosbury revolutionised the high jump in Mexico City
The controversy at the 1968 Games surrounded Mexico City's high altitude and subsequent shortage of oxygen.

Endurance events were badly affected with some winning times the slowest in decades but all the men's races 400m or shorter produced world records.

Bob Beamon also benefited to leap a massive 8.90m in the long jump - a record that would last for 22 years.

And Dick Fosbury revolutionised the high jump after stunning the world with his 'flop' technique.

The American cleared every height through 7ft 3 in and then set a new Olympic record of 7ft 4 in to secure the gold medal.

It was no wonder that by 1980, 13 of the 16 Olympic finalists were using Fosbury's technique!

Another peculiar technique helped Amos Biwott of Kenya win the 3000m steeplechase that year.

The 20-year-old cleared the hurdles with his feet together and used the wall at the water jump to sail back onto the dry track on his way to winning gold.

A possible boycott in Mexico City had been avoided when the International Olympic Committee reversed a decision to re-instate South Africa's Games status.

But a memorable image from the Games is the black-gloved, clenched-fist salute by American Black Power supporters Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 200m ceremony.

Gymnasts Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia (four gold and two silver) and Mikhail Voronin (two gold, four silver and a bronze) won the most medals at the Games.

And the Swedish team celebrated a family atmosphere with the four Pettersson brothers combining to win silver in cycling's team time trial while the three Sundelin brothers won the 5.5m yachting event.

Links to more Olympics 2004 stories


Olympic countdown: 72 days
01 Jun 04  |  Olympics 2004
Olympic countdown: 71 days
01 Jun 04  |  Olympics 2004
Olympic countdown: 70 days
03 Jun 04  |  Olympics 2004
Olympic countdown: 69 days
03 Jun 04  |  Olympics 2004


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