Benjamin Alexander and Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian saw their Winter Olympic dreams end in disappointment rather than glory for Jamaica on Sunday (13 February).
Alexander, raised in England, finished 46th out of the 46 alpine skiers who completed both runs in the men’s giant slalom event at the Beijing Games. Former USA bobsledder Fenlator-Victorian, brought up in New Jersey but now living in Texas, finished 19th overall in the inaugural women’s monobob event.
The 2022 Olympics, taking part in the Yanqing district of Beijing in China, was always going to be a tough ask for Alexander. The 38-year-old former DJ, who only began skiing six years ago following a trip to Canada, has no full-time coach but is passionate about the sport.
He was congratulated by Prime Minister Andrew Holness for becoming the first Jamaican Alpine skier to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games.He secured qualification for the Olympics at the inaugural Cape Verde National Ski Championships in Liechtenstein.
A field of 89 athletes from 62 nations for the alpine skiing event had been forced to train on artificial snow until the real thing began to fall on Saturday.
His time of 1 minute 37.94 seconds on the first run at the Yanqing National Alpine Ski Centre saw Alexander lie 54th.
With 35 competitors unable to finish the first run, a further six skiers failed to finish the second run. Yet Alexander did, clocking 1 minute 40.58s, but finished slowest overall in the men’s giant slalom event for those who managed to complete both runs.
Fenlator-Victorian clocked 1 minute 6.63s in heat one to be ranked 19th fastest. But then finished 20th in her fourth and final heat in 1 minute 7.63s.
This was the last Olympic outing for the 36-year-old, who represented the USA at the 2014 Winter Games in Russia and raced for Jamaica four years later in South Korea.
Fenlator-Victorian now plans to help bolster Team Jamaica from behind the scenes to secure long-term sponsorship.
The Jamaican pair followed in the famous footsteps of their bobsleighing compatriots who sensationally made the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Canada.
Disney even made a movie five years after Jamaica’s maiden foray at the Winter Games, inspired by the nation’s 1988 bobsleigh team, with the film Cool Runnings becoming an overnight sensation.
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