Prodigious from a young age, Kirani ran the fastest 400m times ever by a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old. He won a series of gold medals at the CARIFTA Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games and rose on the international stage with 400m silver medals at the 2007 World Youth and 2008 World Junior Championships.
James became the first athlete to run a 200/400m double at the 2009 World Youth Championships and was the 2010 World Junior Champion.
In 2011, as a sophomore at Alabama, Kirani raced toward a junior world record on his way to winning the 400-meter dash in the 2011 SEC Indoor Championships on Feb. 27, 2011 at Fayetteville, Ark. His time of 44.80. It's the third fastest time ever indoors in the 400-meter dash.
THE MAKING OF A LEGEND
At the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, both James and fellow Grenadian runner Rondell Bartholomew made the finals of the 400m event. James won the event in a personal best of 44.60 seconds, becoming the youngest 400m world champion at the age of 18. The medal was the first for Grenada in any event at the World championships in athletics.
Nine days later, James won the 400m at the 2011 IAAF Diamond League in Zürich with a new personal best of 44.36 seconds.
On 6 August 2012, James won the 400m Olympic gold in a time of 43.94, a national record, earning Grenada its first ever Olympic medal and becoming the first non-US runner to break the 44-second mark. He was Grenada's first Olympic medalist in any sport.