The former British-born DJ will become the first alpine skier in Jamaica on Winter Olympics, just six years after he first embarked on the sport.
Benjamin Alexander, 38, whose father is Jamaican, will be the only member of the Jamaican ski team at the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.
Alexander, who was raised in Wellingborough near Northampton, will compete in the giant slalom after finishing seventh in the discipline at the Cape Verde National Championships in Liechtenstein earlier this week.
The athlete, who became an internationally acclaimed DJ who played at major festivals such as Burning Man in the US, only started skiing in 2015 when he was on holiday in Canada and has no permanent coach.
Alexander, who will be the 15th athlete to compete for Jamaica at the Winter Olympics, is happy to admit that he doesn’t have many options against the sports elite – many of them have been skiing since they were young and have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their careers over the years. .
Instead, he hopes his amazing run will inspire others, especially those from smaller countries and tropical climates, to pursue all the alpine dreams they are brave enough to nurture.
Benjamin Alexander, 38, whose father is Jamaican, will be the only member of the Jamaican ski team at the Beijing Winter Olympics next month.
Alexander considers Dudley Stokes, the pilot of the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Olympics, to be one of his mentors who is in touch every day.
Stokes ’efforts to qualify for the Olympics were immortalized in Cool Runnings, and Alexander remembers watching the film and thinking it was‘ the coolest thing since sliced bread ’.
Alexander, who has an English mother and a Jamaican father, said a Jamaican without pioneers like Stokes might not have competed in the Winter Olympics yet and that would make it harder for him to get to the competition.
Alexander continued to write Instagram: ‘I really hope that my path will lead to a whole new generation of athletic talents from underrepresented races and nations in winter sports.’
He said BBC Sport: ‘They say you never meet your heroes, but Dudley is great.
“I owe a lot of service to the heroic efforts of the 1998 team. I am designing my racing suit and I would like it to be a similar version of the 21st century bob [kit]. Credit where credit falls, the proverb is that we stand on the shoulders of giants and they were the giants in my story. ‘
Dudley Stokes smiles at his team members as they demonstrate a bob pushing form during a reception to send the team to a hotel in Tokyo on February 4, 1998 ahead of the Winter Olympics.
Alexander only started skiing in 2015 when he skied in Whistler, Canada, where he was invited as a DJ at a party.
‘I only chose one green run [the easiest] and I did the same run over and over again. When I first went on this run, I think I fell 27 times.
I think I finished at the end of the day as I only fell seven times in this run and for me it was progress.
‘That’s how I looked at this whole thing. I remove one piece at a time and try to get better every day. ‘
Later in 2019, Alexander met American skier Gordon Gray, who told him that his technique was “cruel” but also that he could not comprehend how Alexander managed to follow him.
Alexander said, ‘He pulls me aside and says,‘ Benji, I’m telling you what I see. Your technique is absolutely awful, I haven’t seen anything worse yet.
“But you tell me you only skied for 25 days, you only had two lessons. Of course, you don’t just learn these very technical things through osmosis, but what I can’t understand for life is how you follow me. You’re a damn fool, you’re fearless. The fact that you are fearless means that you have more than half of the battle won. “
Alexander, who has an English mother and a Jamaican father, said a Jamaican without pioneers like Stokes might not have competed in the Winter Olympics yet and that would make it harder for him to get to the competition. Pictured: Alexander descends the slope during training at the Kolašin ski resort on December 21, 2021
Alexander explained: ‘It helped me understand that it would be at my fingertips if I really made an effort and dedicated myself to it. Since then, I have been quite busy on this mission. ‘
Nearly three years later, Alexander is competing at the Beijing Winter Olympics this week as the first Jamaican to compete in alpine skiing.
He says he hopes his experience with the public shows that your background doesn’t matter – everyone has a place in winter sports.
“If I can start playing sports at 32 and come to the Olympics at 38, then there’s no excuse for anyone – whether it’s 40, 50, 60, not to go out and learn and enjoy.” from skiing, ”he said Eurosport. ‘It’s not too late.’
“When I started this mission, it was a really selfish endeavor – let’s see where I can take this for myself,” Alexander said.
After the incident that happened to George Floyd last year, I received so much attention and support from the people who tried to advocate diversity in winter sports.
“Now I almost feel like I’m carrying that pressure to perform and that thing on my shoulders for diversity in winter sports, so it’s gotten a lot bigger.
“I’m very happy to be the one person who can show that it doesn’t matter what your background is, socio-economic or racial, that you have a place in winter sports.”
“We’re trying to inspire the next generation,” Alexander said last month.
Alexander skis down the slope during training at the Kolašin ski resort on December 21, 2021
‘Although you may come from Timor, India or Jamaica, if you start young and have a belief, then we may be able to cross one generation of an elite country in winter sports.’
Alexander came from a working-class background. He said Olympics.com: ‘My mother, my father and my brother spent most of their careers in factories or driving.
‘None of these three graduated from high school with a decent GCSE or O-grade.’
But Alexander took a different path and earned a scholarship to a private school before studying physics and engineering at Imperial College London.
He started working as a DJ while studying, but stopped after two years in 2002 after someone was shot while Alexander was waiting in line to come to a London nightclub.
He said, ‘I just thought it was complete nonsense. During the day, I’m basically at MIT – I went to the Imperial College of Science, Technology, Medicine to study physics – so I do that during the day, and at night I hang out with people trying to kill each other, and I quit music almost immediately. ‘
Alexander then worked in finance in Hong Kong for years before returning to DJing. He eventually played at the Burning Man Festival in the US and had a residency in Ibiza.