Benjamin Alexander, the son of a Jamaican father and a British mother, has been working to qualify to compete in the alpine skiing event at the 2022 Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to be held in Beijing, China. Alexander has spent the past two winters in the lower-level circuit of the International Ski Federation (FIS) in his bid for Olympic qualification in the sport.
Alexander believes that if he qualifies in Olympic alpine skiing, it would encourage other Jamaicans to represent their country in the sport in the future.
“Words can’t describe the level of excitement I have for my mission to become the first Jamaican to compete in alpine skiing at the next winter games. I hope my journey will motivate and inspire more Jamaicans to try skiing and other winter sports!”, Alexander told Jamaicans.com.
Alexander was born and raised in an area one hour to the north of London and was an electrical engineering student at University College London. Three days after his final examination, he purchased a one-way ticket to Asia, then considered a career in modeling, and ultimately settled on finance. Later on, Alexander, 37, spent some ten years as a DJ, visiting 30 countries, and attending the Burning Man festival for ten consecutive years.
While working on a DJ gig, he had the chance to ski in Whistler, British Columbia, in Canada. He skied again at Mammoth Mountain in California the next year and then traveled to Pyongyang Chang to see the Winter Olympics in 2018. He noticed that Jamaica, which fields a strong Summer Olympics team, had only three athletes competing at the Games, and none were skiers. One Jamaican had skied for Jamaica at the Olympics: in 2010, Errol Kerr competed in ski cross.
His Olympic bid began as a joke, he said, but he was “looking for the next challenge” at the time and thought, “Why not try to reinvent ‘Cool Runnings‘?” He got tips from Gordon Gray, a retired American racer, and Dudley Stokes, the driver of the 1988 Jamaican Olympic four-man bobsled team that was the inspiration for Disney’s 1993 film, became his mentor.
Since then, Alexander has been a competitor in eight lower-level giant slaloms in the US and Canada. He finished last in all of them. However, it is still possible for him to qualify for the Winter Olympics as some ski disciplines have less stringent qualification requirements than other sports.
Photo Source: NBC Sports, Benjamin Alexander Facebook, Kristina Brik