At a college track and field meet in 1974, a New Zealand long jumper representing Washington State University did something that had never been done in competition before – a somersault.
Years before he joined NZ First and became a member of parliament, Tuariki Delamere was a promising long jump athlete with a scholarship at Washington State University. One of the oldest track and field events, the long jump has remained virtually the same since the first modern Olympics – and he wanted to change that.
In 1974, Delamere debuted the somersault long jump. It was a technique destined to revolutionise the sport of long jump the same way the Fosbury flop changed the high jump years earlier. But while Dick Fosbury’s name is now synonymous with the sport, the “Delamere Flip” was banned by the IAAF, meaning the name Tuariki Delamere is now little more than a curious footnote in long jump history.
This is the story of a jump that could have changed athletics – and the athlete who ended up being banned because of it.
Scratched: Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends is made with the support of NZ On Air.
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