Former DJ Benjamin Alexander became the first skier to represent Jamaica at the Winter Olympics

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The former DJ will become the first skier to represent Jamaica at next month’s Winter Olympics.

Benjamin Alexander only started playing sports in 2016 and does not have a permanent coach. But he managed to qualify for Beijing after finishing seventh in the giant slalom at the Cape Verde National Ski Championships on 12 January.

The 38-year-old, who grew up in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire but has a Jamaican father, will be the first alpine skier – and the 15th athlete in history – to compete for Jamaica at the Winter Games.

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The 38-year-old has skied 450 days in the last two years. Picture: Stephen Shelesky & Noah Wallace

He says his amazing story is partly inspired by the legendary 1988 bobsled team – the first Jamaicans in history to compete in the Winter Olympics – before they crashed and finished last.

They were turned into cult heroes by the 1993 film Cool Runnings.

Asked how he felt about working together, Mr. Alexander told Sky News: “The feeling is amazing.

“The biggest emotion I feel right now is relief. I put all my life into it, my savings, my reputation, absolutely everything. I needed 200% of everything to come here.”

A two-year plan to reach the Olympic standard

Two years ago, the graduate engineer decided to make a plan to “get piece by piece to the Olympic standard”.

He says he has skied 450 days in the last two years and is unable to train due to the pandemic.

“I embarked on this project as a full effort in March 2020,” he said. “So it was a big part of my fight and the fight against the pandemic – I couldn’t get to the southern hemisphere to train during their winter and lose months and months of competitions due to cancellation.”

Picture: Stephen Shelesky & Noah Wallace
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It will be the 15th athlete in history to represent Jamaica at the Winter Games. Picture: Stephen Shelesky & Noah Wallace

Although he never lived there, Mr. Alexander was able to spend four months in Jamaica when he got stuck in the Caribbean when the March 2020 pandemic broke out.

There, he was able to “learn more about the island” and appreciate the “cool factor” associated with it at the games.

“The biggest cheering at the Olympics is always for the host country, but the second biggest cheering is always for Jamaica,” he said.

Picture: Stephen Shelesky & Noah Wallace
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Mr Alexander hopes to impress young Jamaicans. Picture: Stephen Shelesky & Noah Wallace

The skier cites Cool Runnings as inspiration

Asked if Cool Runnings influenced him, he replied: “If it weren’t for this movie and my friends joking about me being like Cool Runnings, I don’t think this plan would have been made up.”

And on hoping to win, he added: “I don’t want to take anything away from people who started at two years old.

“My story is about collaboration and I hope to inspire the next generation of Jamaican children to start before 32.”

The Beijing Winter Olympics begin on February 4th.

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