Kirani James became a hero yesterday when he gave Grenada its first ever Olympic medal.
The 19-year-old stopped the clock at 43.94 seconds to win gold in the 400 meter finals.
James’ win sparked nationwide celebration across the tiny Caribbean island. Not only did Prime Minister Tillman Thomas called James to offer congratulations, but he also declared a half holiday. PM Thomas told a huge gathering in Kirani James’ hometown Gouyave that all government offices will be closed a 1 p.m. today.
“I say it’s an historic occasion because he is the first Grenadian to obtain gold at the Olympics. Not only for Grenada but the OECS,” Thomas said.
“So it’s an historic occasion and we are all are proud of him. We want to let him know we’re going to support him and continue to do whatever we can to help him because he has made us proud,” Thomas added.
Kirani James became the first non American to ever clock a sub 44 seconds in the 400 meter race. The World Champion sprints home to break legendary athlete Michael Johnson’s All Comers Record of 43.98 seconds.
James’ win drew a huge crowd to Gouyave, a small fishing town on the west coast of Grenada.
“It’s a lot. The whole place is probably crazy right now,” James told reporters after the race. “I can’t even explain I am so excited.”