On Monday August 6, 2012, Kirani James won the gold medal in the Men's 400 Metres race at the London Olympics with a time of 43.94, making him the first person from Grenada and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to win an Olympic medal of any kind.
Broadcaster George Grant saw Kirani's victory as an event which should encourage more Grenadians abroad to give back:
But, Grenadians abroad can help through other means without any fanfare. Dr. Kenrick Lewis is a vivid example. Over the years, Dr. Lewis, a catalyst chemist and famous for his contributions in the development of silicons, has given scholarships to students at primary schools in the Parish of St. John's to attend one of Grenada's secondary schools.
Kirani James, a student at the St. John's Anglican Primary School, won one of Dr. Lewis’ scholarships. That scholarship afforded Kirani the opportunity to attend the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School (GBSS) where he excelled. Well, one can say the rest is history.
Abeni, who lives in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was thrilled for Kirani and his countrymen:
In 2012, history was to be made when 19 yr old Kirani James of Grenada ran an impressive 43.94 to win gold. I think it is safe to say that not only is the American dominance over but Michael Johnson's record is under threat.
Grenada, the tiny most southerly of the Windward Islands has always stood out from its neighbours. The Spice isle as it's affectionately called for its production of nutmeg and other spices has long been punching above its weight.
Now Kirani James has given the island its first Olympic medal-gold to boot complementing his 2011 Worlds gold. Additionally, Janelle Redhead has continued Grenada's tremendous run at the Olympics by qualifying for the female 200m semis.
Large up yourselves Grenada, 133 sq miles and 93,000 to the world.
James also received a lot of positive feedback on Facebook for what netizens were calling “one of the most beautiful moments of the Olympics”. Caribbean Beat wrote:
Grenada star Kirani James – after winning his 400m semis – swapped bibs with the heroic, talented double-amputee Oscar Pistorius at the end of the race. We have never been more proud to have such a sportsman on our cover.
The wall post attracted 30 comments, 269 shares and more than 275 likes.
A crowd gathered at Cuthbert Peters Park in Kirani's home village of Gouyave to watch the race on a large screen:
Another crowd gathered in Morne Rouge, St. Georges:
The crowd in Gouyave watched in anticipation:
Once Kirani won, pandemonium ensued:
The celebrations quickly turned into a street party:
Prime Minister of Grenada, Tillman Thomas, addressed the crowd at Gouyave following the medal ceremony:
Today, Kirani James rewrote the history of Grenada with his feet. No longer will Grenada be renowned just for nutmeg, revolution and invasion.
“Kirani City” by Grenadian musician Hollis Mapp aka Mr. Killa:
Video of Kirani's hometown, Gouyave: