TOKYO, JAPAN (WECT) – When Kirani James of Grenada won the bronze medal in the men’s 400-meter finals in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Thursday, he had a large cheering section in Wilmington. That’s because James is one of close to 50 celebrities who come to Wilmington for the Willie Stargell Celebrity Invitational each year in November.
On Saturday, James and his coach, Harvey Glance, sent a video to the WECT newsroom thanking Wilmington residents for their emails and text messages of support.
“I’m real proud of our performance, real proud of all the support we got from around the country and a big, big shout out to Wilmington, N.C.,” Glance said.
Glance, who won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics in the 4×100 meter relay recorded the message alongside James Saturday morning as they prepare for the closing ceremonies in Tokyo Sunday.
James, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2012 and the silver in 2016, reflected on his bronze medal win in Tokyo.
“It was a tough event,” James said. “We had a lot of talented guys in the 400m this year so even just making the final for me was a tremendous success.”
James came in third behind Anthony Zambrano (Columbia), who won the silver and Steven Gardiner (Bahamas), who won the gold.
James recalls the defining moments of the race.
“Just try to conserve as much energy as I can to just get through the first rounds and make the top three,” he said. ” I had to give it my all, give it my best–what I had that day. Just try to go deep, represent my country well.”
James, who was recruited to the University of Alabama where Glance was the track and field coach, is Grenada’s first and only Olympic medalist.
James will carry the flag for his country in the closing ceremonies Sunday. He and Glance will return to the United States Monday with little to no concerns about exposure to COVID-19.
“One great thing about these games is that Tokyo did an excellent job keeping everybody healthy,” Glance says. “We got tested every day. We have very minimum COVID-positives compared to the amount of athletes that came into this village.”
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