There’s something incredibly awesome about being the first person from your country to accomplish something. Did you know that the first American to win an Olympic gold medal was James Connolly in 1896 for the triple jump? Probably not. But he’s the first, and even though there have been thousands of people to win gold medals in between for the States he will always be the first.
Equally cool example: Marc Garneau is the first Canadian to ever go to space and he will always be the first. No Canadian has ever been on the moon. You, provided you are Canadian, should get on that. I would but the idea of that many G-Forces spooks me.
Coming into the 2012 Games, Grenada had never won an Olympic medal. Enter Kirani James, sprinter, who became the first Grenadan to ever win a medal at the Olympics when he won the 400m sprint by a half second over Luguelin Santos of the Dominican.
How important is that to a native of Grenada? Well…
Grenada’s police commissioner, James Clarkson, authorized street celebrations with the explanation that “this is to my mind the most important event that ever happened to our country, even more important than Christopher Columbus landing.”
Not too shabby. Given that many like to argue medals should count for more in countries with small populations, it should be noted that Grenada now has more medals per capita than any other country at the games with one per ever 110,821 inhabitants. This is what Slovenia gets for resting on its laurels, enjoying their paltry medal for every 514,385 inhabitants.
James acknowledges that this is a pretty significant moment for his country, and you can expect a few towns to be named after him in the near future. If his neighbourhood were to adopt his nickname — Jaguar — as their new moniker, it would be a step up over their current name which is Gun Battle.
“I think there are quite a few street parties going on,” James said. “I just go out there and just try to do my best in terms of representing my country in a positive way. As long as I do that, they are going to be proud of me, and as long as they are proud of me I’m happy with that. But just being there and this being an Olympic gold medal, this is a huge step for our country in terms of stepping up to the plate in track and field, just going out there and putting us on the map.”
Grenada is soaking up the moment as parties have been going for some time now.
Take note, Pakistan. Your zero medals for a population of 179,309,000 is looking mighty lame right now.