Mexican skier a prince of a guy

The German prince who skis for Mexico has a noble ambition in Sochi: become king of the hill.

Not so much with his finish in the slalom — he has no illusions of winning — but rather through his fashion statement.

Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, who turns 55 today, wants to stand out on the slopes in his flamboyant mariachi racing suit.

A fitting outfit for a vibrant character.

Born in Mexico City, Von Hohenlohe has royal lineage through his family's ties with a former principality in Germany. He's also a singer who has released several albums and a photographer whose work has been displayed in galleries.

And, oh yeah, he's soon to be a six-time Olympian.

His Olympic debut was in 1984 in Sarajevo. He counts Austrian skiing great Franz Klammer as a friend, Bode Miller as an inspiration — "He's a rebel and lives by his own rules," the prince explained — and said a new generation of skiers keeps him young.

"I have had an interesting life," Von Hohenlohe said.

No wonder he's referred to as the "most interesting Olympian," a take on the commercial featuring the "most interesting man in the world" character.

"The fact that I have a span of 30 years where I've competed at the Olympics is quite special," he said in a phone interview from his hotel room in Mexico City.

Von Hohenlohe is set to become the second-oldest male competitor at a Winter Games when he races in the slalom on Feb. 22, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon. The oldest was Carl August Kronlund, a Swedish curler who was 58 when he captured a silver medal at the 1924 Games.

That's a distinction Von Hohenlohe really doesn't want, which is why Sochi will be his last Olympics. Then again, he said he was retiring in 2010 after Vancouver, too.

"Maybe I'll try curling and go to a couple more?" said Von Hohenlohe, whose grandmother has Mexican ancestry.

As for the mariachi theme?

"It's an appropriate suit for someone who's not as explosive as the young ones but has to go down stylish," said Von Hohenlohe, who founded the Mexican Ski Federation in the early 1980s.

Medal mania: There are gold medals, and there are those of the meteoric kind. Regional officials in the southern Urals are offering gold medalists on Feb. 15 an extra commemorative medal embedded with a fragment of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. The meteor blazed across the southern Urals last February and was the largest recorded strike in more than a century. Pieces of it have been used for the commemorative medals, which aren't part of the official Olympic program.

Media mess: Sochi organizers say only six of the nine media hotels in the mountain area are ready to welcome guests. Some accredited visitors have been turned away from their accommodation. Persistent rain has soaked Sochi, delaying work and turning it into a sodden construction zone.

Mexican skier a prince of a guy 02/01/14 [Last modified: Sunday, February 2, 2014 5:32pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours