A former DJ will become the first skier to represent Jamaica at the Winter Olympics next month.
Former DJ Benjamin Alexander will become the first skier to represent Jamaica in the Winter Olympics next month after only taking up the sport in 2016.
Benjamin Alexander does not have a coach and only took up the sport in 2016, however, he has managed to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing after finishing seventh in the giant slalom at the Cape Verde National Ski Championships on January 12.
Mr Alexander, 38, grew up in Northamptonshire but his father is Jamaican. He spent four months in Jamaica when the pandemic began in March 2020.
He will be the first alpine skier and the 15th athlete ever to represent Jamaica at the Winter Games.
Mr Alexander says he was partly inspired by the legendary 1988 bobsleigh team that was the focus of the 1993 movie Cool Runnings.
When asked how he felt about taking part, he told Sky News: “It feels amazing.”
“The biggest emotion I have right now is relief. I have put my entire life into this, my savings, my reputation, absolutely everything. It’s taken 200 per cent of my all to get here.”
Two years ago Mr Alexander decided to make a plan to “get to Olympic standard piece by piece.”
He says he has skied on 450 days over the past two years and was not able to get more practice in because of the pandemic.
“I took on this project as a full endeavour in March 2020,” he said. “So a big part of my fight and struggle has been against the pandemic – not being able to get into the southern hemisphere to train during their winter and losing months and months of competitions due to them being cancelled.”
“The biggest cheer at the Olympics is always for the host country, but the second biggest cheer is always for Jamaica,” he said.
When asked if Cool Runnings had influenced him, he replied: “Had it not been for that movie and my friends making jokes about me being like Cool Runnings I don’t think this plan would have been concocted.”
Asked about his hopes of winning he said: “I don’t want to take anything away from the people who started from the age of two.”
“My story is all about participation and hopefully inspiring the next generation of Jamaican children to start earlier than 32.”
The Beijing Winter Olympics begins on February 4.