Lifestyle & Belief

South African Olympic hero Mokoena leaps over bed of crocodiles

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A crocodile-infested river delayed the opening of a voting station near the Olifants River in Limpopo, South Africa, election officials said.

Credit:

Warren Little

South Africa's Khotso Mokoena is "half-man, half-croc[odile]," the Olympic long jumper proclaimed after leaping over a creek containing as many as 5,000 of the deadly creatures on Monday, reported the local Daily News.

For those lesser aquainted with the local languages, Mokoena means “crocodile” in Sesotho and the creature is his clan's mascot.  

But that wasn't enough to mark the bond for Khotso ‘Croc’ Mokoena, as he is known, because he went on to get many crocodile tattoos and even had the words “Crocodile Bites” emblazoned on his hand, reported the Daily News

Monday's leap took place at Crocodile Creek in Tongaat on South Africa's North Coast, where the owner, Peter Watson, warned the Daily News that "the animals could be unpredictable."

Croc man was up for it. “This was something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time," the silver medalist said, according to the Daily News

"It was about testing myself, my mental strength and overcoming the fear," he said. "As an athlete I’m constantly pushing myself, embracing that animal instinct to go as far as I can."

The award-winning long jumper put his training for the May 18 Diamond League event on hold for his crocodile "obsession," as africa.com put it, noting: 

"A special run up was created in the landscape to ensure that Khotso put his best foot forward."