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‘The Best Feeling Ever.’ South Bronx native Salif Mane qualifies for 2024 Paris Olympics

South Bronx native Salif Mane is heading to the 2024 Paris Olympics after qualifying for a spot with Team USA in the triple jump.

“I was just all over the place, I couldn’t believe it,” he said of the moments after his winning jump. “I just had to celebrate like that, throwing the sand all over, yelling, it was amazing, it was the best feeling ever.”

It was also just one part of month and a half run that has included Mane ending his college career at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey by winning an NCAA national championship and has seen him throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium.

Mane admits the stretch has “been a whirlwind, it’s been crazy.”

To top it off, he was honored by Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson with a proclamation on Wednesday.

During the ceremony at Borough Hall, Mane was surrounded by some of the same people who knew him when he was just another child of immigrants from the South Bronx and going to public high school at Taft Campus.

Ana Herrera, one of his former teachers, says she remembers that “I used to tell him about his long legs, and how he was going be our ticket to the Olympics.” Wiping her eyes, she told News 12 she was “getting emotional just because it was something that I knew that eventually he was going to achieve, and I’m just happy to be here and be able to witness him making history.”

But not everyone could be there to see it. Mane’s father passed away near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He was an awesome guy, and it’s very bittersweet knowing that he’s not here to see me succeed like this, but, it means a lot,” said Mane. “I just take a lot that I learned from him, his hard work, his dedication to being able to provide for our family.”

Mane says he uses that thought to fuel him before his biggest jumps, explaining that “I’ll just say ‘you’re doing this for your family.’ It gives me that energy, it’s just like a goosebump that’s in your body, like a rush. All the adrenaline is there, you’re like alright, I got this, and get in that zone and just be prepared to do something special.”

Mane will head to Paris for the Olympics on July 24, but his first day competition is Aug. 7.

He says he is looking forward to doing some exploring, and finding out if the pastries in Paris are actually as good as TikTok says they are.

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