NEW YORK (CMC):
A popular Caribbean magazine here has named Grenada's Olympic 400-metre champion, Kirani James, as the "Caribbean Person of the Year."
Everybody's Caribbean magazine said while most international media outlets generally consider politicians first when evaluating individuals who are eligible to be Person of the Year, because of all the barriers James has "endured and surmounted," he was most deserving of the accolade.
The magazine, owned by Grenada-born Herman Hall, points to James' "uplifting comments and conduct off the field, plus the prestige he has brought to Grenada and the small islands of the Eastern Caribbean".
"Given its limited resources, the small nation of Grenada cannot afford to fund training of its athletes and often it's ordinary citizens who spearhead the effort to send athletes on the world stage to gain experience. Such is the path that Kirani James followed," the magazine said.
"Track and field has not been in the blood of Grenada fans when compared to Jamaicans, who will climb mountains to support their athletes."
Olympics preparation was a challenge
Preparing for the London Olympics was a challenge for James, the magazine said, stating that in order not to violate his immigration status as a student in the United States, he was unable to take time off from school to train, "whereas American athletes were allowed to curtail school affording them time to prepare for the Games".
James attends the University of Alabama.
The magazine said the choice of James was an easy one because no political figure or musical artiste stood out in 2012
"It was difficult to spot a prime minister with vision, creativity, and the will to enhance CARICOM (Caribbean Community)," the magazine argued. "It was politics as usual."
It added: "Jamaica's reggae artistes, such as Beenie Man, members of the Marley family, Beres Hammond and others continue to have successful concerts and attract international audiences. Yet, in 2012, there was no artiste who was a cut above the rest or committed to extraordinary humanitarian causes.
"Forget about calypso and soca artistes! Machel Montano was the only artiste worth considering, but he, too, falls far short."
Everybody's said it also considered Trinidad and Tobago's Keshorn Walcott, the first non-European to win an Olympic Gold Medal in men's javelin since 1952, for the award.
Kirani James ... Olympic 400m champion.