Grenada's Kurt Felix is another athlete proving that there's more to the Caribbean than just sprinting prowess. After an injury plagued couple of years, the 27-year-old decathlete returned to fitness and form in 2015. Here's what you need to know about the PanAmerican Games silver medallist.

Essential viewing

Track and field is a language that everyone in the Caribbean speaks. Growing up on the tiny island of Grenada, Felix remembers watching one of the sport’s all-time greats in his heyday.

“Growing up I was always a Michael Johnson fan,” he says.“When track and field comes on everyone is glued to the TV, and those were the day of Michael Johnson.”

Different ball games

Johnson's magical performances left a lasting effect, but Felix’s first forays into sport weren’t down at the local athletics club. Another of his childhood heroes was legendary cricketer Brian Lara, and the young Felix was a regular down at the nets.

“I was a bowler. Pace,” he says, ominously. He walked away from the wickets “after I didn’t make the cricket team in high school” aged around 14 or 15. These days he will still pad up for a spot of dead bat with the family when he is back at home.

Kurt Felix ()

Pole vault pits are hard to come by in Grenada, according to Felix

First throws

Felix’s all-round athletic talent was spotted in school PE lessons, where he tried his hand at a few different disciplines.

Though Caribbean athletes are traditionally stronger in sprint events – Grenada’s Kirani James is the reigning 400m Olympic champion – Felix first excelled in the field.

“During a physical education they introduced us to events,” he says. “My coach saw me doing javelin. That’s what I started doing.”

Javelin remains the event he is most consistent in, though he feels he is improving his all-round running and throwing.

“Mainly the javelin [is my strongest event]. I’ve managed to get some other events that I really like now, on a par with my best.”

No pole

One event that Felix has always struggled with is the pole vault. Growing up there were no facilities to practice, so his first experience of it came when he moved to study stateside at Boise State in Idaho.

“The pole vault is definitely my biggest challenge. We don’t do pole vault back home. I had to come [to the US] and learn.”

He has no-heighted in the event twice this season, in Ottawa and Talence, and remains under no illusion that it's an event in which he needs to improve.

“It’s an area that definitely I could get a lot more points. It’s just a matter of me getting more confidence and improving every day.”

Kurt Felix ()

LONDON HEARTBREAK: "It was a little disappointing that I didn’t get to finish my first Olympics"

Injury hit

In 2012, in his final year of university, Felix won the 2012 NCAA decathlon title with 8062 points – the third time that year he broke the national record.

It meant he qualified for the London Olympics, which was due to be his fourth ten-eventer of the season. It was all shaping up to be a great summer, until he “got injured”. Although he competed in London, injury forced his withdrawal after the first day of competition.

“That year, although it was good [to win the NCAAs], it was a little disappointing that I didn’t get to finish my first Olympics. But, you know, being able to qualify for that was a good accomplishment for me.”

The following year, still not fully fit, he competed in the Moscow world champs, where he again was forced to withdraw on day one.

Medal success

Things began to look up in 2014. At the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and in his first full decathlon in two years, he finished third with 8070 points – another national record. Felix was just happy to get through it unscathed.

“It was really good, the fact that I hadn’t competed in a decathlon since 2012, and the fact that I was able to win a medal there and compete well.”

This season, he won another medal, this time silver at the PanAm Games in Toronto. His score of 8254 was yet another national record. The following month, in Beijing for the world championships, he improved that record again to 8302, finishing eighth overall.

“You always want to go and win and represent your country with pride. And then, the medal, it’s just like the icing on the cake.”

Kurt Felix PBs ()

This season Felix improved his personal bests in seven out of the ten decathlon events. Nice!

Head for it

Felix studied psychology in college. He says that his understanding of how the mind works was beneficial as he made his new life in America.

“It helped me out building confidence,” he says. “It was a perfect marriage.”

Today he still calls on his psychological knowhow to stay calm in the heat of competition.

“I basically try to take pressure off myself. Being able to focus and make every event, every competition like my first, and try not to worry about what I did before.

“Where athletes tend to fail a lot is when you put pressure on yourself. Because they’re not performing at that point in the competition doesn’t mean the other events haven’t been good. So I just try to put myself in the right mental position.”

More where Kurt comes from

Felix is a rare example of a Grenadan multi-eventer on the senior circuit, but he says that there is the potential for the next generation to make it to the top.

“Definitely we have a lot of talent back home,” he says. “I think it’s an area, as a country, we can produce a lot of athletes. If you look back at the CARIFTA level, which is the junior level, the Caribbean have, for the heptathlon, a lot of guys winning medals from there. So you can see the depth that we have over the years in producing. But no-one ever really went on to do it on the bigger stage.”

There is one athlete in particular that Felix tells us to look out for.

“Actually my younger brother is doing the decathlon also. He’s 22. His name is Lyndon Victor and he's going to college in the US, at Texas A&M.”

For now, Felix senior is happy to play a role in helping younger athletes realise that the sport of athletics involves all manner of events.

“Definitely it’s my aim to pave the way so that other athletes can follow. I just try to be a positive role model.”