Grenada is not so much a country, but a community. This community has been brought even closer together thanks to all our athletes that represented Grenada in the 2012 London Olympics.
Grenada and the Grenadines is a group of small islands in the south of the Caribbean that strongly depends on tourism and agriculture. So, sports and other activities sometimes take a backseat in the country’s development priorities. When our Track and Field Stadium was completely destroyed in Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Grenada had to figure out a way to overcome this obstacle and keep our youths engaged. Athletics, swimming and cricket have always being our favourite sports so finding a place for our athletes to train and run was not a hard task as Grenada has beautiful open fields that you can run endlessly on. Our 23-meter pool may not be ideal for an Olympic athlete, however athletes would swim along the coast of Grand Anse Beach (1.5 miles long) and were also kept active by events like the Cross Harbour Swim and the Grenada’s Triathlon.
Grenadian’s are always good at making do with what they have and this is exactly what our Olympians did. They managed to overcome obstacles thrown their way. In the end, they became Grenada’s very own national heroes. Grenada does not have many sports facilities, however we have something else very unique to any other country that participates in the Olympics, an amazing sense of community and support for everyone in our small country. So, when we heard that our neighbours, school friends, and family members would be taking part in the London Olympics, the whole country changed. Flags went up, partying started, TV’s turned on and everyone participated in the festivities. The whole of Grenada has watched these individuals grow up to become the stars they are today. Grenadians always offer a huge amount of encouragement to youths, showing up in thousands for inter-school track and field competitions, cheering on their friends and family as if it were the Olympics.
Grenada also has something very unique that keeps our athletes strong, the local diet. Grenadians, as stated before, make do with what we have; however, no one ever complains when it comes to the food. Fish and local crops like breadfruit, fig, sweet potato and cassava play a huge roll in the Grenadian diet and this is what fuels our athletes. Food in Grenada is organic, fresh and very delicious. You will almost never see a Grenadian chose a burger over a nice hot bowl of our national dish “Oil Down”, fried jacks or a good “mannish” water. Our food is healthy and plays a big role in the strength and endurance of our athletes.
Grenada has been through so much over the past 100 years and we always stick together, through the bad and the good. Kirani James winning Grenada’s first gold medal has changed the history and people of Grenada forever. Every single person was not only sitting on the edge of their seats but jumping off them when they watched the 400m finals while Kirani James took the gold medal with ease. Roads closed down simply because there were so many people celebrating in the streets and everyone joined in the festivities. Everyone was sporting our Red, Green, and Yellow flag in some form or fashion and it is safe to say that every Grenadian will remember this day as the day our tiny island was given the spotlight by the world.
So thank you, not only to Kirani James but to our nine other athletes that represented Grenada well in the London Olympics 2012. Thanks to athlete swimmer Esau Simpson, Grenada now has a new slogan that caught on very quickly during the Olympics, “Respect the Nutmeg.” I can tell you, there is not one Grenadian who does not respect our country and its national spice, nutmeg. Our challenge now is to get the rest of the world to know more about the Spice Island way of living and come experience what our magnificent people and island have to offer.