Benjamin Alexander is on a mission to become Jamaica's first alpine skier to compete in the Winter Olympics. In order to make that dream a reality, he recently visited Montana to get some pointers from a Red Lodge Local and Ski Racing legend.
That's the focus for 2022 Olympic Hopeful Benjamin Alexander.
A former international DJ, the 37-year-old began skiing just five years ago after attending a heli-ski trip in British Columbia.
"I had never been in terrain like that. The mountains, we don't have those in England, snow in British Columbia mecca of snow, bottomless powder. I said I'm not coming back until I can do this thing," said Alexander.
Two months later, on just nine total days of skiing, Alexander went back.
In 2018, he was in attendance for the Winter Olympics. What he experienced there, would set him on a new life course.
"I was shocked that the movie Cool Runnings, which had a huge impact on my life the story of the 1988 bobsled team. I was shocked it hadn't touched and inspired more Jamaicans. And the fact there was only three (Jamaicans) made me see that as an opportunity. Maybe someone who has skied 15 days of my life could potentially put their head down, qualify one day and that's the road I'm on now," said Alexander.
In 2019, ski racing became Alexander's main focus. Now based out of Jackson, Wyoming, Alexander is determined to become Jamaica's first Olympic alpine skier.
The son of a British mother and Jamaican father, Alexander hopes his journey can inspire change in winter sports.
"I hope that my achievement of getting to the Olympics inspires young kids or adults, black or white, it doesn't matter and with dedication and effort you can achieve your dreams. I never thought I'd be a sponsored athlete after ten years on the road being an unhealthy international DJ, but here I am, make life changes and great things come," explained Alexander.
In order to achieve his dream, Alexander has to reach a certain qualifying time. Lisa Ballard, a Master's Ski Racing World Cup Champion and Ski Racing aficionado, provided a week of focused training for Alexander.
The two ski racers were connected through a mutual sponsor, racing pole manufacturer, Leki.
"He can do it. He has the talent, athletic ability and it's just fine tuning at this point. I was honored to help coach him and also inspired," said Ballard.
Ballard believes Alexander will make it to Beijing, because he has something that can't be taught.
Ballard explained, "Some people have the speed gene and some don't. You can't teach it you have it or you don't and Benji has the go for it attitude."
Alexander added, "I love to go fast... I have the speed gene it's why I'm addicted to the sport and why I pursue ski racing."
Call it a Cool Runnings re-boot, with origins in the Mountain West, all the way to the Olympics in Beijing.
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