As the curtains have been drawn on the London 2012 Olympics, it is safe to assume that Grenada can officially crown its very own Nation Olympic hero, Kirani James – or as he should be known ‘King James of Grenada’. Kirani brought home Grenada’s first ever Olympic medal, and just for good measure – it was gold.
James managed to cruise the 400m men’s sprint in under 44 seconds, a feat that previously only American runners have been able to achieve, to an easy victory to become Olympic Champion. Of course, his celebration didn’t start until he congratulated every one of his competitors, a gesture that fails to cross many Olympians minds. Only 24 hours earlier in the semi-final race, James exchanged name tags with South Africa’s ‘blade-runner’ Oscar Pistorius as a sign of admiration and respect to the double-amputee amidst much debate over whether Pistorius should even be allowed to compete in the Olympics. James told reporters:
‘I see him as another athlete, another competitor. What’s more important is I see him as another person. He’s someone I admire and respect’
This not only made him an instant international sweetheart in the eyes of many, he trended no. 4 in the UK on twitter with complimentary tweets from both BBC and Channel 4 News, but also solidified the fact that he is a true gentleman and a great ambassador for Grenada.
Grenada can now boast a range of talents from international footballer Jason Roberts, who founded the Jason Roberts Foundation which provides opportunities for young people to participate in sport and learning programmes in both the UK and Caribbean, to 2008 World Champion Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton hailing from both Britain and Grenada who has regularly sported both Grenadian and British flags on his helmets in an attempt to raise the profile of Grenada.
When compared to the likes of being ‘the Usain Bolt of 400m’ he says he would rather be known as the ‘Kirani James of Grenada.’ As well as when comparisons were drawn with him and the U.S.A’s world record holder of the 400m, Michael Johnson, he replied:
“I’m just focused on the best that I can be and don’t try to be like Michael Johnson because if I try to do that, every time I fail is going to be a disappointment for me and a disappointment for everyone.”
His modesty though, is not retained when talking about Grenada. Commenting on Grenada’s reaction to his win “I don’t think any words can describe the celebration out there. This is a huge step … going out there and putting us on the map.” It was his main objective to put Grenada on the map come the end of the London Olympics…. Mission accomplished, Kirani.
– Bobbie Garbutt