Thursday, November 15, 2018

Grenada's Gold-en Boy Makes History in London

Credit: Tom Fordyce, BBC Sport
Kirani James fought off solid competition to win Grenada's first-ever Olympic gold Monday night.

19-year old Kirani James win Grenada's first ever gold medal, and creates a new holiday in the process.

If a world championship title in the 400-meter wasn't enough, toss in Olympic Gold. And a new national holiday.

19-year old Kirani James took gold in the Men's 400m run on Monday, winning with a time of 43.94 seconds becoming the first Grenadian to win an Olympic gold medal in any event.

"He was in control all the way. Under 44 seconds for the first time in his career - we figured he would do it eventually and he did it just at the right time," said four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson afterwards.

"It means a lot, Grenada will be going crazy right now," James said after the win.

That win also sent the small Caribbean island country into a frenzy, as the government of Grenada declared Tuesday afternoon a national holiday to mark James' accomplishment. Prime Minister Tillman Thomas calls the victory an inpsiration to the country. He already has a street in the Grenadian capital of St George named after him. Having carried his country's flag into the opening ceremony he can most likely expect a hero's reception when he returns home.

James defeated fellow teenage phenom Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic (44.46) and Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago (44.52), both of whom to silver and gold respectively.

James' 43.94 time in Monday's 400-meter also makes him the first non-U.S. runner to break the 44 second mark and is just the next milestone in the teen's young career so far. Since 2008, James has won Commonwealth Youth Gold, World Youth Gold, the World Juniors, the World Championships, and now an Olympic gold. Some predict that he will be the one to break Johnson's record of 43.18 seconds should he stay at his current pace.

"I am sure he will have my world record [43.18] in his sights. He is tremendously talented and has many years to learn about this event. He is already very mature and I would expect him to continue to improve," Johnson added.

It should also be mentioned that although the event is usually dominated by the United States, not a single American made it to the final heat.

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Jeff Weisinger is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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