Fosbury, Panenka, Madjer, axel, salchow… These eight athletes who gave their name to a gesture

Died Sunday, Dick Fosbury, known for having revolutionized the high jump with his famous “flop”, is one of those athletes who anchored their legend by giving the name to a movement or a gesture.

Their action has gone down in history. Dick Fosbury, who passed away on Sunday 12 March, made his mark on athletics with his famous ‘flop’. This high jump thrown back at the hurdle has become totally generalized at the highest levels, such as among amateurs. The American is not the only one to have given his name to a movement. Lutz, Salchow, Madjer or Panenka… A look back at eight homonymous jumps and gestures that have marked the history of sport.

The Fosbury high jump flop

You may have tried it in PE class! American athlete Dick Fosbury gave his name to a famous high back jump technique in the late 1960s: the “flop”. A technique which consists of crossing the horizontal bar by lifting oneself into the air, unlike those of the belly roll or scissors, then used. The first time the world discovered this gesture was at the Mexico Olympics in 1968. Dick Fosbury launched a real revolution and won the Olympic gold with a bar passed at 2.24m. Now, this technique is the only one used by athletes.

Panenka in football

The Panenka it is a special technique for taking a penalty. This gesture consists in kicking the ball with a kick, without power but with a rounded trajectory, in the center of the goal. The first time Czech player Antonin Panenka made this gesture was in the final of the 1976 European Championship, while also offering the title to his team.

The axel in figure skating

Spectacular figure in figure skating, the axel has become a must with an impulse that occurs frontally unlike all other jumps. It consists of rotating one and a half turns in the air (or two and a half turns for a double axel, and so on). Norwegian Paulsen Axel invented it in 1882, when he managed to perform the trick at the first figure skating world championships in Vienna. He won third place there, three years before being crowned world champion. The axel is considered the most difficult jump to perform on ice.

The Schwenker in handball

The terms of kung fu, chabala, roucoulette, handball are numerous and often surprising. One of these movements bears the name of its creator. This gesture called Schwenker consists of deceiving the defense by faking a jump shot. Once in the air, the player releases the ball, puts down a dribble, then, released by his direct defender, places another foothold and triggers his shot. It was invented by the German Hinrich Schwenker, who amassed 76 selections in the 1950s and 60s, when handball was played on grass.

Madjer in football

Particularly tempted by offensive players, the Madjer is a pure technical gesture. An inspiration that consists of setting a goal by performing a heel strike between the legs. It was made by Algerian player Rabah Madjer to equalize after the game, during the final of the European Cup in 1987. His club, FC Porto, eventually won at the expense of Bayern Munich (2-1).

Thomas in gymnastics

The movement is a one and a half back somersault, either in a tucked, piked, or extended position. It is the American Kurt Thomas who is at the origin. The first American to become world champion in gymnastics in 1978, in Strasbourg, the gymnast also gave his name to a gesture on the pommel horse, the Thomas Flair. He was a three-time world champion in his career and a three-time runner-up world champion.

Figure skating salchow

The salchow is a figure skating element whose start is triggered on a back edge of the inside foot. The landing takes place on a rear edge with the foot other than the one that launched the start. It was the Swede Ulrich Salchow who joined him for the first time in 1909. During his career, the skater collected an Olympic title, ten world titles and nine European champions. This jump is performed today in triple rotation in international competitions, more rarely in quadruple rotation.

The lutz in figure skating

This is a counter-rotating toe jump. This trick, considered the most difficult to perform after the axel, requires both balance and coordination to facilitate the landing. It was performed for the first time in 1913 by the Austrian Alois Lutz. In competition, the first woman to land a quadruple lutz is Russia’s Alexandra Troussova, aged just 14, in September 2018 (American Brandon Mroz was the first man in September 2011, aged 20). Since then, it is very rare to see a skater or even a figure skater perform a quadruple lutz.

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