A protege of fellow Hall of Fame member Charlie Pond, Dickie Browning began his tumbling career at the age of 12 in Texas. When Pond became the coach at the University of Illinois, Browning accompanied him, where he continued to train his last two years of high school before entering the University as a freshman. During his senior year in high school, Browning won the National AAU Tumbling Championship. For the next three years, Browning won every competition he entered on the tumbling mats, with the exception of one.
Strangely, he gained most of his notoriety by doing a round-off back handspring over a high jump bar, a feat covered by Life Magazine. That 7′ 2′ jump broke, at that time, the world’s high jump record by four and a half inches. As a result of that famous “jump,’ he was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the next 20 years as the world’s greatest tumbler. In 1954, he joined the U.S. Navy as a pilot. Following his retirement from the Navy in 1965, he flew for American Airlines for 25 years and retired as a captain in 1991.