You can be forgiven if you think that Jamaica’s flag-bearer is a bobsledder. When it comes to the Winter Games and the tropical island nation, pretty much everyone thinks of the group of bobsledders from the 1988 Olympics who inspired the Disney film “Cool Runnings.”
But Benjamin Alexander is no bobsledder. He is a 38-year-old Alpine skier who spent a decade touring the world as a D.J. Perhaps you saw him at Burning Man, or at one of the many warehouse parties he used to host in Brooklyn.
Alexander, who grew up in Britain as the son of a British mother and a Jamaican father, started skiing six years ago and qualified for the giant slalom competition in Beijing by the skin of his teeth a month ago. He has no hope for being competitive, but he loves to ski fast and was able to take advantage of the international ski federation’s relatively loose qualifying standards for the Olympics, which are aimed at trying to produce a more diverse field.
Alexander is leading Jamaica’s seven-member Olympic team. The rest of the members of the team are, in fact, all bobsledders.
Alexander arrived in Beijing on Wednesday and spent Thursday and Friday scrambling to find the proper uniform for the opening ceremony.
“My first big sponsor thought my quest was a big joke,” Alexander said in an interview on Thursday. “Then they realized I could actually do it and that I might help them with their efforts to diversify their market.”