Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

May 7, 2003

Otukile Lekote is a nine-time All-American and is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation and No. 23 in the world in the 800m run. In March he was named the U.S. Track Coaches Association co-Southeast Region Athlete of the Year. Balancing a successful athletic career and classwork as a biology major, the Botswana native earned the 2002 National Men’s Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Part of an impressive Track resume, Lekote is a four-time NCAA Champion and a five-team SEC Champion in addition to winning a Bronze Medal at the World University Games in China.

The junior middle distance runner sat down for a Q&A with

Who inspired you?
My mother has been my inspiration in life. She taught me to work hard for everything and I am now seeing that hard work can get you most everything that you want. For inspirations in track I looked up to various Olympians. They made me want to train and work hard to get to be like them.

What is your most memorable USC track moment?
I have had many great moments at USC, especially those of winning national championships and achieving that with world-class times. Going to nationals during my freshman year stands out because I was not expecting much. I ended up winning and was so surprised and excited that I did not know what to do.

What are your goals for this year?
I would like to defend my National Championship in the 800m. That is something I really want to do and am working hard towards doing after not having a great start to this season.

Where do you see yourself 20 years from now?
I hope to be practicing dentistry back in Botswana.

Do you have any immediate goals after college?
I would like to have a couple years of running at the world level. I want to see how competition is after college. If it goes well, I will be there for a while.

What is your favorite thing to do when you are not running?
I like to hang out with my friends and watch television. Those are things I do to get my mind away from school and track.

What is your favorite thing about being a Gamecock?
Being a Gamecock is much more than being part of a team. We are a family. Everyone is friends with each other and that is a beautiful thing to be part of.

Who was your favorite athlete growing up?
If I had to pick one, it would be Frankie Fredricks. I was amazed with how he could run for so many years and still be very good and post fast times. He is from Namibia which is near Botswana so it was natural to follow someone who is from somewhere near me.

What sport would you play if you were not in track?
I would probably play soccer. It is very big back home.

Why did you choose USC?
I read a lot of good things about the school including information on the track team and academic brochures. I liked everything I saw so I didn’t have to visit.

What is one word that describes you?
Easy-going. I make friends with everyone.