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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Saturday January 31, 2015 12:10PM EST
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- July 15, 1996
- Vol. 46
- No. 3
In a Desperate Gambit, a Gawky Kid Made His Flop a Hit
After the Olympics, Fosbury returned to Oregon State, where he had earlier flunked out. "Having attention and success was difficult," he recalls. "Coaches don't teach you how to be a winner, and I had a difficult time with that." Ready or not, he was a talk show celebrity, but he was also a college kid worrying about bills (sponsors and a pro circuit were not post-Olympic perks back then). It was almost a blessing when his celebrity faded and he graduated with an engineering degree in 1972. Now 49 and divorced, he's an engineer and surveyor in Ketchum, Idaho, where he shares custody of his son, Erich, 13. Still thin and gangly, Fosbury works out at the Sun Valley Athletic Club. Few of the regulars know his history. Recently, a local ski instructor was stunned to learn the identity of the gawky guy in the corner of the gym. "I can't believe I'm looking at an Olympic athlete's body," the man said. "I don't feel so bad."
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