Mexico's One Man Alpine Ski Team!
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If you happened to watch the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games you may have noticed an unusual sight - A single athlete representing Mexico. It was not because other contestants from the country had decided to skip the parade, but because Prince Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, is Mexico's sole representative at the Games.
And this is not the first time either. Hohenlohe, who will be competing in the men's Slalom, has been the only athlete from Mexico in six Olympics and has made headlines each time - Unfortunately, it has always been for his flamboyant behavior and unusual costumes rather than, for winning a medal.
2014 is no different. Sochi's oldest contestant has declared that he wants to make Mexico proud by winning the title of 'King of the Hill' - Not for winning a medal, but for the outfit he has selected for the competition on February 22nd.
And he will probably succeed beyond his wildest dreams - That's because his custom-made racing black and red Mariachi-themed suit is like none other that has been seen on the slopes before. While most athletes would find it a little inappropriate, the Prince believes it is perfectly fine especially given that his skiing skills are not exciting enough to draw the attention of either audience or media.
This is not the first time the Prince has donned unusual attire whilst skiing. At the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Hohenlohe wore a ski suit inspired by Mexican bandits complete with fake pistols and bandoliers! It is no wonder that NBC has named the Prince, the 'Most interesting Olympian in the World'!
Representing Mexico in the games is of course just a hobby - or as Hohenlohe likes to think of it, a favor to Mexico since it makes people think of visiting the country when they are seeking out a place to go on vacation. The talented man is also a photographer, singer and musician and has even recorded eight albums under the aliases Andy Himalaya and Royal Disaster.
Born in 1959 to German royalty - Prince Hohenlohe and Princess Ira von Fürstenberg, an heiress to Italy's Agnelli Fiat Empire, Hohenlohe's only tie to Mexico is that he spent the first four years of his life there because his father was managing the country's Volkswagen plant. When he decided to enter the Olympics he first toyed with the idea of representing Liechtenstein, since that's the passport he holds. Then he decided that he was better off going with one where he could control all the moves and in 1981 the one-man Mexican Ski Federation was born! The choice of country is ironic for a man who spends most of his time in Europe and goes to Mexico for maybe just a week or two, each year.
The Prince, who turned 55 on February 16th, began his quest for Olympic gold for Mexico at the 1984 Sarajevo Games. He participated in 3 events, finishing 38th in the downhill, 48th in the Giant Slalom and 26th in the Slalom - That was his best year. He returned again 1988, 1992 and 1994. However he was forced to skip the next three Games, simply because Mexico was opposed to sending a team of one.
But 16 years later, he somehow managed to convince them and after what is probably one of the biggest gaps in Winter Olympics history, the sole representative made his appearance at the Vancouver Games. Though he was planning to retire after that, the Prince says he had no choice but to pull out his skis again, since none of the half-dozen prospective Mexican winter athletes qualified for Sochi.
While the oldest man at the Sochi Olympics, Hohenlohe is by no means the oldest to ever compete. That honor belongs to Swedish athlete Carl August Kronlund who was 58 when he won the silver medal in curling, at the 1924 games. Hohenlohe attests that he doesn't want to take that title and insists that these are his last Olympics. But then again, he may have no choice, if other Mexican athletes don't step up!
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