Ok, maybe I was spicing a little bit with that headline. Redbull didn’t actually force Khotso to jump over a couple of crocs in a river, he did it all out of his own. In the latest of absolutely mad displays of how Redbull gives you wings, the dream of Olympic Silver Medalist Khotso Mokoena was made a reality in Tongaat on Durban’s North Coast yesterday. The Olympic long jumper leapt over a creek of crocs at Crocodile Creek which is home to over 5,000 Nile Crocodiles. Yeah. Crazy.
“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,” said a chuffed Khotso. “I think I’m half-man, half-croc.”
A special run up was created in the landscape to ensure that Khotso put his best foot forward and had the best chance of not becoming croc-lunch.
Khotso’s obsession with all things crocodilian stems from his heritage. His surname ‘Mokoena’ literally translates to he/she who swears by a crocodile,” in Sesotho and the animal is the collective identity for the clan. He also bares multiple crocodile tattoos on his body including the words ‘Crocodile Bites.’
Owner of Crocodile Creek and crocodile expert Peter Watson explained the challenges in working with the reptiles for the shoot:
“Crocs are most dangerous when in the water as they can propel themselves upwards up to 4 metres with force. 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.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t get hold of any footage (presumably because they weren’t sure he wouldn’t get eaten during the jump). Still though… mad.