Jamaica’s first-ever alpine skier at an Olympic Games, Benjamin Alexander, finished 46th out of the 46 who completed both runs in the men’s giant slalom event at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Sunday. Forty-one skiers were unable to finish.
The DJ-turned-skier, who grew up in Northamptonshire, clocked a combined time of 3 minutes, 18.52 seconds, over 35 seconds behind the leading time and 16 seconds behind the next slowest – Arif Khan of India. He had to plow through snow and poor visibility.
It was the first time snow fell during an Alpine skiing race at this year’s Olympics, and the bad weather conditions caused the second run to be postponed by 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Alexander finishes 54th after his first run under difficult conditions in a time of 1:37.94 to place bottom of the pile for skiers who completed the run at the Yanqing National Alpine Ski Centre. There were 35 did not finishers in that run due to a huge blizzard which impacted the schedule.
Alexander completed his second run in 1:40.58. Six skiers were unable to finish that run. He turned to the cameras and said: “that was for everyone who thinks they don’t belong in skiing. Get your kids into winter sports earlier. Let’s change the game. Thanks. I’m exhausted – I need a massage and a beer.”
In finishing the race Alexander – who achieved the minimum qualifying criteria at an event in Liechtenstein – was able to fulfil a “crazy dream”.
“Hardest thing I’ve ever done. For me, it was all about finishing,” Alexander told Eurosport after the race.
“Some of the best guys in the world didn’t finish today so at least I’m ahead of those guys.”
A field of 89 athletes from 62 nations took part in the event.
The 38-year-old Alexander is only the 15th athlete to represent Jamaica in the Winter Olympics. Jamaica is known to participate in bobsled.
The gold medal was won by Marco Odermatt of Switzerland.
The 24-year-old Swiss skier coped with the conditions and the delay — and a first-run mistake — to post an unofficial combined time of 2 minutes, 09.35 seconds.
Zan Kranjec of Slovenia took silver, 0.19 seconds behind (2:09.54), and world champion Mathieu Faivre of France earned bronze, 1.34 behind (2:10.69).
The skiers had been racing and training on artificial snow until the real thing started to fall on Saturday. A second women’s downhill training run was canceled because of the conditions on Sunday.