Kirani James Wins Gold in 400M, Earns Grenada’s First-Ever Medal

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 6, 2012

Above: Kirani James Boulevard in St Georges, Grenada (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

London’s Olympic Stadium track has a new name: Kirani James Boulevard.

Grenada’s Kirani James won the gold medal in the 400 metres, the first-ever medal of any kind for Grenada.

James finished in 43.94, ahead of Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic and Trinidad’s Lalonde Gordon.

Santos’ silver represented the second medal of the day for the Dominican Republic.

It was a major triumph for James, who shot to stardom with a victory in the World Championships as an 18-year-old in Daegu.

His Olympic victory in the 400m came after some questions arose following a false start at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon in June.

But James, the lanky 19-year-old, took it in stride, with a poise well beyond his years.

That poise — and maturity — was exemplified after the semifinals on Sunday, when, after beating the field in his heat, he chose not to immediately celebrate, but to exchange race numbers with South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee who was the first amputee of any kind to compete in the Olympics.

James, who was born in the village of Gouyave, was named Grenada’s male sportsman of the year in a ceremony in January, the youngest Grenadian to ever win the award.

The former Alabama Crimson Tide sprinter even saw the creation of Kirani James Boulevard in St George’s, Grenada.

Now, he has brought Grenada its first-ever Olympic medal. The tri-island nation competed at its first Games in Los Angeles in 1984.

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