Grenada’s Kirani James wins Olympic 400m gold

| August 7, 2012

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Grenada’s Kirani James won his country’s first ever Olympic gold as he added the 400m title here to his World Championship crown.

The brilliant 19-year-old stormed away off the top bend to win in a personal best of 43.94 seconds, well clear of fellow teenager Luguelin Santos in second.




Photo courtesy

“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. He can go much faster than this, no doubt about it, because his technique is not that great.

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.”

Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago took the bronze.  James said:  “It means a lot. Grenada will be going crazy right now.”

Since 2008, James has won Commonwealth Youth gold, World Youth gold, the World Juniors, World Championships and now the Olympics.

With this display, he becomes the eighth fastest man in history over one lap.

This is a new generation of 400m men. In an event traditionally dominated by the United States, not a single American made the final.

Silver medallist Santos of the Dominican Republic is just 18 years old, while only one man in the field – the Bahamas’s Chris Brown – is over 24.

Brown, fourth in Beijing and in two previous world finals, was once again just a place off the podium.

But it is James, just as it was in Daegu a year ago, who is the talk of this event. 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 expect a hero’s reception when he returns home.

The future of the event may also be his. Michael Johnson’s incredible world record of 43.18 secs has stood for 13 years.

While that remains well out of James’s reach for now, his own talent and the competition engendered by his youthful rivals could one day see him do what few thought possible and break that Beamonesque mark.

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Category: Caribbean in the Olympics, Culture & Society, Sports

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