LEADING THE WAY
She may not have tasted Olympic
success on the track as a sprinter
and hurdler, but Enriqueta Basilio’s
contribution to the Olympic Games
Mexico City 1968 was arguably more
important than any podium finish.
The 20-year-old from Mexicali
made history by entering the
Estadio Olímpico Universitario
during the Opening Ceremony to
the delight of 100,000 spectators,
carrying the flame up the staircase
to the top of the stadium and lighting
the Olympic cauldron – the first-ever
woman to do so.
The Finn sailing event saw a certain
Jacques Rogge of Belgium compete
at the Olympic Games for the first
time. After representing his country in
Munich and Montreal, Rogge became
the eighth IOC President, serving from
2001 to 2013. He became IOC Honorary
President in 2013.
The 1968 Olympic Games were
unprecedented in many ways: they
were the first Games to take place in
Latin America and the first to be held
in a Spanish-speaking country. What’s
more, they also marked the first time
that a synthetic all-weather material
called tartan was used in track and
field events. The surface proved
a huge success, and continues to
be used in modern-day athletics.
THE FLOP THAT BECAME
A WORLDWIDE HIT
Of the thousands of athletes who
compete at each edition of the Olympic
Games, only a few go on to win a gold
medal. Even fewer do so while single-
handedly revolutionising their sport.
Yet that is exactly what the USA’s Dick
Fosbury did in Mexico City. Whereas
most high jump athletes deployed
the “straddle” style prior to 1968, the
21-year-old Fosbury’s eponymous
“flop” – a highly innovative back-first
technique – saw him soar to gold with an
Olympic record-breaking leap of 2.24m.
His ingenuity changed the sport forever:
to this day, the flop remains the go-to
method in the high jump.
DID YOU KNOW?
DID YOU KNOW?
70 OLYMPIC REVIEW