Series10 Feb 2014

Work, rest and play – Kirani James


World and Olympic champion Kirani James (© Getty Images)

Olympic 400m champion Kirani James from Grenada has proved to be one of the genuine superstars of global athletics in the past few seasons.

He offers a glimpse into his life by answering our work, rest and play questions.


What is your favourite training session?

Kirani James: Any ladder work out whether that is 400m, 300, 200m and 100m or 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m. It is a great workout.

What are your favourite three things about being an athlete?

KJ: One, to get to do something I love. Second, to be given the chance to make people who really care about you really proud; and thirdly, to have an effect on people that I never thought I’d have an effect on.

What is your favourite training venue?

KJ: I would say at home in Grenada because it is not only a good place to train but it is where everything started for me.

What is your favourite music to train to?

KJ: I usually don’t listen to music when I train but, If I’m going out for a jog, I might put my music on. I’ll listen to either soca or reggae/dance hall music. Right now I’m really into Chronic, a Jamaican reggae artist. He’s very talented and is actually my age. I always look forward to listening to his music. I’ve been listening to him for a long time in the car. It is the kind of music that I would normally play until it annoys me and because I’m not annoyed yet, I’ll keep on listening.

Who is your favourite training partner?

KJ: For the past couple of years, I’ve trained on my own. Yet, when I was back in Grenada, I trained with a group called Speed Zone. We had some pretty interesting characters on that team, a really funny bunch of guys. It was great to train with them and form that kind of friendship.


Where is your favourite place to relax?

KJ: I would say in Grenada at home, just chilling.

Describe your perfect non-training day.

KJ: I’d sleep until about 3pm. I’d like to chill, relax, play some video games, watch some football and call it a day. My favourite videos games are sports games, either college (American) football or FIFA.

If you could pick one athlete to spend a day to relax with, who would it be?

KJ: Probably Alleyne Francique (the two-time former World Indoor Championships 400m gold medallist from Grenada) because he’s a very funny guy. I got to know him a bit at the London Olympics. He’s just fun to be around.

What is your favourite TV show?

KJ: I’m a big comedy guy so I like to watch a lot of sit-coms, and stand up.  Right now, my favourite would be Key and Peele:  a comedy sketch show. It is about two guys putting on different personas in different situations. They crack me up.

What is your favourite meal?

KJ: Anything my mother cooks.


What are your earliest basketball memories?

KJ: Playing my brother, Gary, and not being able to get the ball off him because he kept scoring. He is a really good player and was awarded best basketball player on the island (of Grenada) a couple of years back. My father also played a lot of basketball and introduced me to the sport.

What was your on-court position?

KJ: I would consider myself more of a defensive specialist – a guard.

Do you ever play the game today?

KJ: Not really, I’m paranoid I’d pick up an injury. I haven’t touched a basketball this off season, so that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Who is your favourite all-time basketball player?

KJ: My favourite currently player is Kevin Durant. He’s not only a very good player, but he’s very humble and goes about his business quietly without stress.

Which track and field athlete would make the best basketball player?

KJ: I would say if Valerie Adams played in the WNBA she’d be a force to be reckoned with.

Steve Landells for the IAAF