Wednesday, January 19, 2022

British-born former DJ will turn out to be Jamaica’s first Alpine skier on the Winter Olympics

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A British-born former DJ is about to turn out to be Jamaica’s first Alpine skier on the Winter Olympics, simply six years after he first took up the game.

Benjamin Alexander, 38, whose father is Jamaican, would be the sole member of Jamaica’s nationwide ski group on the Winter Olympic Video games in Beijing subsequent month. 

Alexander, who was raised in Wellingborough, close to Northampton, will compete within the large slalom occasion after ending seventh within the self-discipline on the Cape Verde Nationwide Ski Championships in Liechtenstein earlier this week. 

The athlete, who grew to become an internationally famend DJ who performed at main festivals resembling Burning Man within the US, solely started snowboarding in 2015 whereas on vacation in Canada and has no full-time coach.  

Alexander, who would be the fifteenth athlete to compete for Jamaica on the Winter Olympics, readily admits that he stands little probability in opposition to the sports activities elites – a lot of whom have been snowboarding since they have been toddlers and have invested lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} into their careers through the years.

As a substitute, he hopes his unbelievable run conjures up others, particularly these from smaller international locations and tropical climates, to chase any alpine desires they’re courageous sufficient to nourish. 

Benjamin Alexander, 38, whose father is Jamaican, will be the sole member of Jamaica's national ski team at the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing next month

Benjamin Alexander, 38, whose father is Jamaican, will be the sole member of Jamaica's national ski team at the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing next month

Benjamin Alexander, 38, whose father is Jamaican, would be the sole member of Jamaica’s nationwide ski group on the Winter Olympic Video games in Beijing subsequent month

Alexander counts Dudley Stokes, the pilot of the Jamaican bobsleigh group who  competed within the 1988 Olympics, as certainly one of his mentors who retains in contact with day-after-day.

Stokes’ efforts to qualify for the Olympics have been immortalised within the movie Cool Runnings, and Alexander recollects watching the movie and considering it was the ‘coolest factor since sliced bread’.  

Alexander, who has an English mom and Jamaican father, stated that with out pioneers like Stokes, Jamaica could not have competed within the Winter Olympics but and it might make his path to compete ‘extremely troublesome’. 

Alexander wrote on Instagram: ‘I actually hope that my journey will paved the way for an entire new technology of athletic expertise from under-represented races and nations in winter sport.’ 

He advised BBC Sport: ‘They are saying by no means meet your heroes, however Dudley is superior. 

‘There are a lot of favours that I owe to these heroic efforts of the 1998 group. I am designing my race go well with and I’d adore it to be a detailed, twenty first century model, of the bobsled [kit]. Credit score the place credit score is due, the saying is we stand on the shoulders of giants and so they have been the giants in my story.’

Dudley Stokes smiles back at his team members as they demonstrate the bobsled pushing form during a sending-off reception for the team at a Tokyo hotel on February 4 1998 ahead of the Winter Olympics

Dudley Stokes smiles back at his team members as they demonstrate the bobsled pushing form during a sending-off reception for the team at a Tokyo hotel on February 4 1998 ahead of the Winter Olympics

Dudley Stokes smiles again at his group members as they show the bobsled pushing type throughout a sending-off reception for the group at a Tokyo lodge on February 4 1998 forward of the Winter Olympics

Alexander solely started snowboarding in 2015 when he skied in Whistler, Canada, the place he had been invited to DJ at a celebration.

‘I simply selected one inexperienced run [the easiest] and I simply stored doing the identical run again and again. The primary time I went on this run I feel I fell 27 occasions. 

‘I feel I completed on the finish of the day having fallen on that run solely seven occasions and for me that was progress. 

‘That is simply how I’ve checked out this whole factor. Chipping away one little bit at a time and attempting to get higher every day.’

Alexander later met US skier Gordon Grey in 2019 who advised him his approach was ‘atrocious’ but additionally that he could not fathom how Alexander was capable of sustain with him. 

Alexander stated: ‘He pulls me apart and says, ‘Benji, I am going to let you know what I see. Your approach is totally atrocious, I’ve by no means seen something worse.

‘However you inform me you have solely skied for 25 days, you have solely had two classes. In fact you do not simply be taught this extremely technical factor by osmosis, however what I am unable to fathom for the lifetime of me is the way you’re maintaining with me. You are a freaking lunatic, you are fearless. The truth that you are fearless means you have got greater than half the battle received.”

Alexander, who has an English mother and Jamaican father, said that without pioneers like Stokes, Jamaica may not have competed in the Winter Olympics yet and it would make his path to compete 'incredibly difficult'. Pictured: Alexander skies down a slope during a training session at the Kolasin ski resort on December 21, 2021

Alexander, who has an English mother and Jamaican father, said that without pioneers like Stokes, Jamaica may not have competed in the Winter Olympics yet and it would make his path to compete 'incredibly difficult'. Pictured: Alexander skies down a slope during a training session at the Kolasin ski resort on December 21, 2021

Alexander, who has an English mom and Jamaican father, stated that with out pioneers like Stokes, Jamaica could not have competed within the Winter Olympics but and it might make his path to compete ‘extremely troublesome’. Pictured: Alexander skies down a slope throughout a coaching session on the Kolasin ski resort on December 21, 2021

Alexander defined: ‘He helped me perceive that it might be inside my attain if I actually utilized myself and devoted myself to it. I have been just about full-time on this mission since.’ 

Practically three years later, Alexander is competing within the Beijing Winter Olympics this week as the primary Jamaican to compete within the Alpine Snowboarding occasion.

He says that he hopes his expertise reveals the general public that it does not matter about your background – everybody has a spot in winter sports activities. 

‘If I can begin a sport at 32 and get to an Olympics at 38, then there isn’t any excuse for anybody – whether or not they’re 40, 50, 60, to not exit and get some classes and get some enjoyment out of snowboarding,’ he advised Eurosport. ‘It is not too late.’   

‘After I started this mission, it was a extremely egocentric pursuit – let’s examine the place I can take this for myself,’ Alexander stated.

‘Then after the incident that occurred final 12 months with George Floyd, I’ve acquired a lot consideration and assist because of folks attempting to champion variety in winter sports activities.

‘Now, I nearly really feel like I carry this strain to carry out and to do that factor on my shoulders for variety in winter sports activities, so it is turn out to be a lot greater.

‘I am very excited to be that individual that may present that it does not matter what your background is, socio-economic or race, you have got a spot in winter sports activities.’ 

‘We try to encourage the following generations,’ Alexander stated final month. 

Alexander skies down a slope during a training session at the Kolasin ski resort on December 21, 2021

Alexander skies down a slope during a training session at the Kolasin ski resort on December 21, 2021

Alexander skies down a slope throughout a coaching session on the Kolasin ski resort on December 21, 2021

‘Although chances are you’ll come from Timor, India, or Jamaica, in the event you begin younger and you’ve got perception, then perhaps we might be elite international locations in winter sports activities in a technology from now.’ 

Alexander got here from a working-class background. He advised Olympics.com: ‘My mom, my father and my brother have spent essentially the most a part of their working profession both in factories or driving. 

‘Not one of the three of them completed highschool with any first rate GCSEs or O-levels.’

However Alexander took a unique path and earned a scholarship at a personal faculty earlier than finding out physics and engineering at Imperial School London. 

While finding out, he took up DJing however stop after two years in 2002 after somebody was shot and killed when Alexander was queueing to get right into a London nightclub.  

He stated: ‘I simply thought to myself that’s absolute stupidity. By day, I will mainly be at MIT – I went to the Imperial School of Science, Expertise, Medication to review physics – so by day, I am doing this, and by evening, I am hanging out with folks which can be attempting to kill one another and I gave up music nearly immediately at that second.’

Alexander then labored in finance in Hong Kong for years, earlier than falling again into DJing. He ended up taking part in on the Burning Man Competition within the US and having a residency in Ibiza.  

Source: Each day Mail

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