History-making Jamaica Alpine skier, Alexander Benjamin, believes the country possesses the attributes to produce top-quality skiers on a consistent basis and hopes to be the first of many.

At 38 years old Benjamin made history for the Caribbean after qualifying for the event at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.  He is, however, the second skier to do so for Jamaica behind Errol Kerr who competed in Freestyle skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics where he finished in 9th position.  Kerr’s finish remains the best placing by a Caribbean athlete at any Winter Olympics.

Despite the fame garnered from the 1988 Winter Olympics four-man bobsled team, immortalised by the cult classic Cool Runnings, it is the Summer Olympics that have been the forte of the Caribbean island.

Led by Jamaican track and field legend Usain Bolt, Beijing was a happy hunting ground for the country’s Summer Olympic team in 2008, where they claimed 11 medals.  While Benjamin won’t necessarily expect that type of success, the newly minted Olympian believes there is plenty of talent to harness within the country and throughout the diaspora.

“What my story is all about is encouraging the next generation of Jamaicans to start before 32, so that we can have a real chance at medaling,” Benjamin told the SportsMax Zone.

“I’ve already identified three Jamaicans in New York, who started skiing when they were less than two years old, and they’ve been race training for the last 10 years.  So, they’re now 14 years old and these guys are going to come with force when we get to the 2026 Games,” he added.

“I think that we can get a really strong ski team from the pool of talent we already have in Jamaica and the diaspora.”

Benjamin has targeted being actively involved with the Jamaica Ski Federation (JSF).  Richard Salm the former president of the JSF died of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident last year.

 

 

Former DJ Benjamin Alexander will become the first man to represent Jamaica, in skiing, at the Winter Olympics after qualifying for the Games last week.

Alexander will make his debut in the men’s giant slalom and qualified for the event after finishing seventh at the Cape Verde National Ski Championships on January 12.

Born to a Jamaican father and English mother, the athlete, now 38, did not take up the sport until 5 years ago while on a visit to Canada.  Now he will number among a handful of Jamaicans, 14 to be exact, that have made an appearance at the Games.  The journey was anything but simple.

"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,” Alexander said.

Like so many, Alexander admits to being a fan of cult classic Cool Runnings, the now immortal story that paid tribute to the appearance of the Jamaica team at the 1988 Calgary Games.

"Had it not been for that movie and my friends making jokes about me being like Cool Runnings I don't think this plan would have been concocted,” Alexander said.

He hopes at the very least to be an inspiration.

"I don't want to take anything away from the people who started from the age of two.

"My story is all about participation and hopefully inspiring the next generation of Jamaican children to start earlier than 32."

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