A former DJ is set to become the first skier to represent Jamaica at the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.
Over the past few years, the British-born DJ, Benjamin Alexander, had a six-year residency in Ibiza as well as playing clubs in Hong Kong and at Burning Man festival in the U.S.. He only started skiing in 2016, retiring from DJing two years later to focus on his sporting career.
Despite his limited experience and the absence of an official coach, he managed to qualify for the games after finishing seventh in the giant slalom at the Cape Verde Championships last week.
The 38-year-old grew up in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, but has a Jamaican father. He will be the first alpine skier — and only the 15th athlete in history — to compete for Jamaica at the Winter Olympics.
Alexander said his decision to take up skiing was partly inspired by the 1988 bobsleigh team who were the first Jamaicans in history to take part in the Winter Olympics, only to crash out and finish last. The 1993 film Cool Runnings was based on their story. Speaking with Sky News, he said, “The biggest cheer at the Olympics is always for the host country, but the second biggest cheer is always for Jamaica.”
Discussing how it felt to qualify, he said, “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% of my all to get here.”
Although he has never lived in Jamaica, he spent four months there when he found himself stuck in the Caribbean during the pandemic. While it gave him time to appreciate the island he’ll soon be representing, it meant his opportunities to practice skiing were put on hold, having only skied on 450 days throughout the past two years.
You can watch Alexander’s performance at the Beijing Winter Olympics which begin on 4th February.
Listen to his Robot Heart mix at Burning Man festival in 2015 below.
(Photo via Facebook)