Lifestyle & Belief

South African Olympic medalist leaps over creek full of crocodiles


Crocodiles at a zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok in 2008.



South African silver-medalist long jumper Khotso Mokoena fufilled an unusual life dream on Tuesday: he sucessfully leapt over a creek seething with crocodiles.

The long jumper performed his (thankfully) successful feat at Crocodile Creek, a popular tourist attraction near the city of Durban that's home to over 5,000 crocodiles and a smattering of other reptiles.

Read more from GlobalPost: Thousands of crocodiles escape South African farm

Why take one's chances with a leap over a crocodile-infested creek — especially when considering the reptile's remarkable ability to launch themselves out of the water to distressing heights?

"This was something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. It was about testing myself, my mental strength and overcoming the fear. As an athlete I’m constantly pushing myself, embracing that animal instinct to go as far as I can," Mokoena told "I think I’m half-man, half-croc."

The last name Mokoena translates to "crocodile" in the South African language of Sesotho, notes The reptiles are thought to represent the clan to which the jumper belongs — a claim he's reinforced with tattoos on his hand.

"Crocs are most dangerous when in the water as they can propel themselves upwards up to 4 metres with force," Crocodile Creek owner Peter Watson told

"It was important that Khotso understood that the animals could be unpredictable and that it was in his best interests to jump as far and as high as he could," Watson added — a reality that would seem pretty self-evident.

Video of the feat hasn't hit the internet yet, but here's footage of crocodiles jumping to staggering heights in Australia, making it clear that Mokoena's feat was nothing if not brave.

Crocodiles are able to use their tails to push themselves out of the water to attack prey, and can add extra oomph if they're able to push off the bottom of the body of water where they're hunting. Needless to say, it's best to avoid dangling yourself and others off a boat in crocodile-infested waters. And probably long-jumping.