How a Waterloo instructor helped launch Jamaica’s first Olympic alpine skier

2022-01-29 4:05:00 PM

Waterloo resident Mike Schneider responded to a Reddit query with a detailed response, a significant step in Jamaican Benjamin Alexander’s unlikely journey to the Beijing Games.

Olympics, Jamaica

Waterloo resident Mike Schneider responded to a Reddit query with a detailed response, a significant step in Jamaica n Benjamin Alexander ’s unlikely journey to the Beijing Games as the country's first Olympic alpine skier.

Waterloo resident Mike Schneider responded to a Reddit query with a detailed response, a significant step in Jamaica n Benjamin Alexander ’s unlikely journey to the Beijing Games.

Waterloo resident Mike Schneider responded to the Reddit website query with a detailed response, a significant step in Benjamin Alexander’s unlikely journey that will continue next month when the former DJ represents Jamaica in the giant slalom at the Beijing Games.

reached out to Redditors“So I posted a public reply, he reached out via direct message, we started going back and forth and I gave him quite the detailed plan ... understanding how the points work, what a training regime for a serious ski racer would look like, equipment rules, how to find and pick races that suit your schedule, how to find a home base for training where there’s going to be a high density of races to keep costs down.”

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read JOIN THE CONVERSATION WATERLOO The relationship started with a question posted online by an enthusiastic Brit with minimal skiing experience, asking for suggestions on how he could meet a target that would allow him to qualify for the Winter Olympics. Waterloo resident Mike Schneider responded to the Reddit website query with a detailed response, a significant step in Benjamin Alexander’s unlikely journey that will continue next month when the former DJ represents Jamaica in the giant slalom at the Beijing Games. The Canadian Olympic Committee announced its full team Friday. The 38-year-old Alexander, whose father is Jamaican, took up skiing just six years ago and qualified for the Olympics at the recent Cape Verde National Ski Championships in Liechtenstein. Alexander was nowhere near the required 140 FIS points when he reached out to Redditors for advice, but there was something about his plea that struck a chord with Schneider, a Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance Level 4 coach. Of the 215 athletes heading to China to compete, there are 106 who identify as female, the most ever in Canadian Winter Olympic history. “For someone still learning to ski, trying to get 140 points is a very large undertaking, an unlikely pursuit, but he asked the question so earnestly that I thought he deserved an honest answer, a detailed one,” said the 34-year-old Schneider, who is based out of the Caledon Ski Club. Team Canada's 246-person delegation includes athletes, coaches and staff.

“So I posted a public reply, he reached out via direct message, we started going back and forth and I gave him quite the detailed plan . On Friday, the COC announced that five members of the delegation were in COVID-19 protocols... "Our success at Games will be measured by the health and safety of Team Canada and on the ability for athletes to step on the field of play and live out their dreams," said Eric Myles, the COC's chief sport officer, in a release. understanding how the points work, what a training regime for a serious ski racer would look like, equipment rules, how to find and pick races that suit your schedule, how to find a home base for training where there’s going to be a high density of races to keep costs down.” The list goes on, with Schneider and Alexander going back and forth for more than three years now — all of it virtually." Sixteen-year-old snowboarder Brooke D'Hont will be the youngest athlete competing for Canada at the games and is among 117 who will be making their Olympic debut.

The two will eventually have a face-to-face meeting, but the pandemic has prevented that from happening. Alexander called Schneider “a top guy” in an emailed request for comment, adding “he literally wrote the playbook for my dream and without it it wouldn’t have happened. Ontario will be best represented on Team Canada with 60 athletes, with Quebec not far behind with 57.” Many of the responses he received to his initial question on Reddit were useless, said Alexander, but Schneider took the time to write a “2,000 word dissertation on going from zero to Olympian.” “I frequently look back at that first message in awe of how accurate and on point it was, and if the pandemic hadn’t hindered me, following his exact words, I would have qualified a few months earlier,” said Alexander. No other province or territory will have double-digit athletes. Waterloo resident Mike Schneider, who started as a competitive racer at the Chicopee Ski Club in Kitchener, is an instructor based out of the Caledon Ski Club.

“Mike and I interact at least every week. Nunavut and the Northwest Territories do not have an Olympic representative and one athlete, figure skater Keegan Messing, was born outside of Canada (Alaska, United States). I always throw questions at him and he always sends great answers along with positive words of encouragement. We’ve never met but I’ll be buying when we finally do. 4-Feb.” Schneider is a longtime skiing enthusiast, starting as a competitive ski racer at the Chicopee Ski Club in Kitchener. He started coaching when he was a student at Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School and returned to the ski industry after studying international development and economics at the University of Guelph. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan.

Alexander, in an interview with ITV This Morning , said he got his first taste of skiing in December 2015 in Revelstoke, B.C.., while doing DJ duties on a Christmas trip with buddies. He took his first lesson two months later in Whistler with the intent of being good enough to ski with his friends if the opportunity presented itself again. He recalls falling 27 times during his initial solo trip down the green beginners run.

The ski bug bit Alexander two years later, he said on his website, when he had the opportunity to ski a dozen mountains on three continents and was a spectator at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The Reddit question was asked at the end of that year, and following Schneider’s advice, he relocated to Revelstoke at the start of 2019 for six weeks of intense training. He set up shop in Jackson Hole, Wyo., after that and has been based there since. Several sponsors have jumped on board along the way to assist Alexander in his pursuit.

Alexander will become the first Jamaican to compete in alpine skiing and is one of six athletes who will represent the Caribbean island in China. The other five — four men, one woman — will compete in bobsleigh. With no full-time coach at his disposal, Alexander has turned to Schneider for advice on occasion, and the instructor with 17 years of experience under his belt has been happy to oblige. In return, Alexander has given the occasional nod to Schneider as his story gains traction. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool to get a shout-out from him every once in a while.

I had no idea how big this thing would become,” said Schneider. “And it’s not why I initially reached out to help him, but it’s pretty cool. It feels good to know that I had a tiny little part in his success.” Alexander heads to Beijing with next to no chance of earning a medal, said Schneider, but this isn’t about winning medals. This is about setting and achieving goals and inspiring others to do the same.

“In the past, there have been some people that qualify for the Olympics from exotic nations that aren’t necessarily competitive, and I hope that there’s not too much controversy surrounding his involvement in the Olympics,” he said. “I think if the Olympic Committee and if the Olympics weren’t about including people from all over the world, then they would change the qualifying criteria. I think that he deserves to be there as much as anyone.” Schneider is especially looking forward to seeing Alexander participate in the opening ceremonies and is hopeful his runs will be shown during televised coverage of the Games. “It’s going to be exciting to watch, and I’m also looking forward to seeing what he does with that after the Olympics,” he said.

Alexander said he was inspired by the “Cool Runnings” story of the 1988 Jamaican bobsleigh team, and he lists Dudley Stokes, the team’s founder, as someone he communicates with regularly. .