Monday, August 6, 2012

Kirani "Jaguar" James, making all Grenadians proud

Kirani James post victory
My father is from Grenada, a beautiful country in the Caribbean. Although it's a small country of ~110,000 people, it's famous for its picturesque beaches (including the rare black and white sand variety), rivers, waterfalls, rainforests and mountain lakes. I've always loved and embraced my Grenadian side, the majestic Island of Spice (one of the world's largest exporter of nutmeg and mace).

Watching Kirani James represent Grenada in the 2012 Olympics over the past few days has brought great pride and happiness to not just Grenadians but sports fan around the world. Not only did Kirani's superb 400m performance win Grenada our first medal in history, a gold one at that......but Kirani did it was such class and grace.  Sunday, immediately after winning his heat for the 400m semi-finals Kirani "Jaguar" James asks Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorious (the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic games) to exchange bibs with him. Today, directly after winning the 400m final in 43.94 seconds Kirani shakes every racer's hand before beginning to celebrate his victory. 

James said of Pistorius, “He’s very special to our sport. He’s a great individual - it’s time we see him like that and not anything else.”.... Pistorius called James a “phenomenal competitor” and said that trading the name bibs was “what the Olympic spirit is all about.”  (Today in London)

400m semi-finals: Kirani and Oscar exchange
I just go out there and just try to do my best in terms of representing my country in a positive way. As long as I do that, they are going to be proud of me, and as long as they are proud of me I’m happy with that. But just being there and this being an Olympic gold medal, this is a huge step for our country in terms of stepping up to the plate in track and field, just going out there and putting us on the map.” (NY Times)

Kirani is now the only sprinter from outside the United States to break the 44-second barrier. At 19, Kirani has a very promising career ahead of him. As some focus on if he will be able to beat Michael Johnson’s 13-year-old world record of 43.18 seconds, I'm already so proud I'm bursting at the seams ;)

Kirani won by a sizable margin

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