A young South African bodybuilder has died from a broken neck after an attempt to entertain the crowd backfired horribly. Sifiso Lungelo Thabete had done similar back flips in his routines before and there was no reason this one should have gone so wrong. He enters in his “routine,” posing and trying to get the crowd pumped up. He leaps into his back flip and that is when it the freak accident occurs.
The crowd seems stunned after he falls and likely unaware of the seriousness of his injuries. For a few long moments, nobody reacts, probably assuming he would get up on his own. He is frightfully still, laying on his right side. As a man rushes onto the mat to help, Thabete slowly falls onto his back. The initial rescuer quickly realizes he needs assistance and call for others. He then tries to move the legs of the fallen bodybuilder as a crowd surrounds them.
Initially, the video hit the internet with ridicule about him being all muscle and no brain. Even Renzo Gracie, a member of the world-renowned Brazilian Jujitsu Gracie family mocked Thabete on Twitter.
According to people who knew the man, his death is a loss for the sport and the world. His social media posts show a person who appears to be dedicated to bodybuilding, a great attitude, and God. One tweet read, “I [sic] saw love this sport with all my heart, depression and stress none of my worries because of how occupied I’m and I feel happy and joyful when am in the gym. #iloveifbb#hardwork#@alltime#MUSCLESWAGG#godisgood.
WARNING: Video is graphic and may be disturbing
Thabete was a former International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Junior World Champion. He also won an event at the IFBB Muscle Mulisha Grand Prix in July, held in Johannesburg Africa.
Muscle Evolution, a bodybuilding magazine in South Africa stated he impressed the judges at the contest with “unbelievable muscle size and maturity beyond his age.”
They also note that this is the second tragic death in the bodybuilding community in one month. Michelle O’ Shea, a current official with IFBB and a former Ladies Bikini competitor, died in a car accident the first week of August.