One of the Wood River Valley’s more notable citizens, a man whose name is still attached to a thing he invented, has been selected as this year’s grand marshal for the Hailey Fourth of July Parade on Friday.
“This is the first time since 1968 that I’ve ridden in the back of a vehicle in a parade, so it’s been 46 years,” Richard Douglas Fosbury, better known as “Dick,” or “Foz,” said in a recent interview.
Fosbury was referring to a parade in Corvallis, Ore., home of his alma mater, Oregon State University, where he, along with his mother, rode in the back of a parade vehicle in honor of his winning a gold medal in high jump, using the legendary “Fosbury Flop,” at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The Fosbury Flop, a backwards leap of a high bar, is now the most common technique worldwide for high-jumping.
Fosbury’s athletic innovation fits well with this year’s Hailey parade theme.
“In the spirit of this year’s parade theme, ‘Wood River inspires,’ Dick will be the perfect fit,” states a press release from the Hailey Chamber of Commerce.
The Fosbury Flop established Fosbury as a champion, but his abilities and dedication go beyond just athletic prowess, as he is well known for his leadership and engineering abilities both locally and worldwide.
Fosbury is a member of Champions for Peace, a group of famous athletes dedicated to using sports to achieve world peace. He is a founder of World Fit, a nonprofit organization that promotes youth fitness programs and Olympic ideals.
He has served as a vice president of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Association, founded the Idaho Chapter of Olympians and is a past president of the World Olympians Association.
Fosbury continues to teach aspiring athletes at youth clinics and track camps throughout the world.
He has lived in the Wood Valley for 37 years.
“It’s a great spot,” he said. “I’ve had the good fortune to travel all over the world, but every time I drive over Timmerman or fly into Hailey, I get this great feeling—it’s good to be home.”
Locally, Fosbury was a founder of Galena Engineering and served as its president until his retirement in 2011. He has served as a city engineer of the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley and oversaw design and construction of the Wood River Trails and Sun Valley Trails for the Blaine County Recreation District.
Fosbury served on the board of directors of the Ketchum Area Rapid Transit bus system, known as KART, which has now evolved into Mountain Rides Transportation Authority. He has served on the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission and on the board of directors of the Wood River YMCA.
Fosbury’s newest adventure is politics, as the Democratic candidate for the District 26 representative position now held by Republican Steve Miller of Fairfield.
Fosbury said he doesn’t know if his selection as parade grand marshal was politically motivated. He’d planned to be in the parade anyway, walking, as he will at numerous parades in the district as he campaigns for a seat in the Legislature.
“I walked in two parades already, Fairfield and Wendell,” he said. “I have all of the county fairs and parades on my calendar, but this is a special event for me.
“I’m really honored. There have been a lot of great, wonderful people that have been selected in the past. It kind of came out of the blue, but I’m really proud that the chamber selected me out of the crowd of a lot of worthy people to represent the community.”
Fosbury likes his quiet time, too, when he manages to find some. He and his wife, Robin Tomasi, live on a 20-acre farm south of Bellevue.