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Original Issue

Dwight Stones, High Jumper JULY 2, 1984

It's because Man just isn't supposed to bend that way that Dick
Fosbury is a genius and Dwight Stones recently hasn't been
allowed to lift more than 25 pounds. The torque of the hips, the
arch of the spine and the awkward tumble into the pit take a toll
on a high jumper's back, particularly after the zillionth
repetition. "After years and years of jumping," says the
46-year-old Stones, who underwent lower back surgery last April,
"I had a herniated disk for a long time that I didn't even know

Between jumping 4'11 1/4" to win the Glendale (Calif.) City
Class F championship at age 13 in 1967 to missing the finals at
the '88 U.S. Olympic Trials, Stones set 10 world records, won 19
U.S. titles and made three Olympic teams, including one at age
30 in '84, when he cleared 7'8" at the trials to set his 13th
American record. The expected yearlong recovery from surgery has
kept him from returning to the world masters high jumping
circuit, on which he set a world record (since broken) in '95,
and has limited him to appearances at Orange County, Calif.,
house sales and on track and field broadcasts. Stones and his
wife, Lynda, who reside in Irvine and have two kids, Jason, 17,
and Jessica, 15, work as independent real estate agents. Stones
has donned a network blazer for every Olympics and world
championships since '84, and just finished webcasting live more
than 425 events at the Paralympics in Sydney. "I'm still making
a living off the fact that I was a great athlete," he says.

Stones's favorite sport has always been the mouth run. He
cemented his reputation for rousing rabble at the 1976 Olympics
in Montreal, where he criticized the Olympic Village ("stinks"),
the track ("dangerous") and the organizers ("rude"). Wearing an I
LOVE FRENCH CANADIANS T-shirt between jumps, he blew kisses at
the unadoring fans and earned his second and final Olympic bronze
medal. Two years later he broke the IAAF's shamateurism rules by
giving the $33,633 second-place prize from a Superstars
competition to his one-man track club. After serving 18 months of
a lifetime ban, he agreed to give the money to the AAU, which
reinstated him. His struggles sparked frenzied debate about
athletes' compensation and sped up the easing of restrictions on
playing for pay. "It was going to happen, but I made it happen
earlier," Stones says. "That was satisfying."

His athletic career may not be over. Stones hopes to again
high-jump or to complete an Ironman triathlon before he's 50,
though for now he's restricted to light running. Doing things he
probably shouldn't, he'll be right in his element.

--Jamal Greene



He cemented his reputation for rousing rabble at the 1976
Olympics in Montreal.