London 2012 Track and Field Men's 400m: Kirani James Paves Way for Grenada

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIAugust 6, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06:  Kirani James of Grenada celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Men's 400m final on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 6, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Kirani James blew away the field in the 400-meter final on Monday with a national record time of 43.94 seconds.

James' dominant victory marks the first Olympic gold medal in the history of Grenada, a monumental achievement for a country that had come up empty-handed in the last seven Olympic Games.

Grenada had one participant in both Los Angeles and Seoul, two in Barcelona, five in Atlanta, three in Sydney, five in Athens and nine in Beijing, but was unable to come away with any medals.

James, a two-time NCAA Champion with the University of Alabama, revitalized Olympic competition for his home country.

At just 19 years old, he has ensured that he will forever be solidified in Grenadian lore with this exceptional display. Instead of young Grenadian athletes thinking that they will never win a medal, James has proven to his following that it can indeed be done against great odds.

This didn't just happen out of nowhere; James has long been known as one of the best in the sport.

He posted the fastest 400-meter time in his age group when he was 14 and 15 years old. He won three gold medals at the CARIFTA Games, and two golds at both the World Youth Championships and the Pan American Junior Championships. Prior to these Olympic Games, his latest triumph came at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu.

James has become his country's version of Usain Bolt. He blew away silver-medal winner Luguelin Santos by more than a half-second, and finished far ahead of bronze medalist Lalonde Gordon, who posted a personal best.

The teenager fits the sprinters mold too. At 6'4", 175 pounds, he has that same long stride that Bolt uses to cover so much ground. 

Not only can Grenada relish in the now, the future looks promising as well. James is so young that he could easily return for two more Olympic Games and attract more of his fellow countrymen. Three isn't out of the realm of possibility either—although it is a stretch.

James didn't just win himself a gold medal in London; he won one for the rest of the 100,000 or so people in Grenada, and his achievement won't soon be forgotten.