Benjamin Alexander: from party-loving DJ to history-making Olympic athlete in two years

“I’ve done all kinds of crazy things in my life, but this is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Benjamin Alexander. GQ in the week you’re ready to make history in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as Jamaica’s first alpine ski racer.

Six years ago, at the age of 32, he hadn’t even put on a pair of skis. At the time he was a globetrotting DJ playing late-night parties in places like Ibiza, Burning Man and Whistler, where he received his first ski lesson in 2016. His lifestyle was far from that of an Olympian. His diet depended on the food he could grab at various airports and his sleep schedule was non-existent: “I changed my time zone as often as I changed my underwear.”

After attending the 2018 Winter Olympics as a spectator, the former engineering graduate made a life-changing decision: he committed to pursuing a career in ski racing, representing Jamaica, where his father is from. A few months later, in November, Alexander retired from DJing, signed up for a 10-day silent meditation retreat, and embarked on a two-year mission to become an Olympian. Today, against all odds, he is succeeding. Days before he is set to compete in the Giant Slalom, we caught up with the 38-year-old to discuss exactly how he got there.

Benjamin Alexander will become Jamaica’s first alpine ski racer at the Winter Olympics.

ALISON BAGLEY PHOTOGRAPHY 077516

Lifestyle transformation and fitness review

“Realistically, I had to try and squeeze 10 years of career training into two,” Alexander says, admitting that “I probably wanted to give up 100 times every month.” The pandemic caused problems for her to be able to train constantly, and when she contracted COVID at Christmas, he wondered if she would qualify. Of course she did, so he can now joke, “Here I am, with my immunity level so high I’ve been running around licking door handles.”

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