Hubertus von Hohenlohe

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Mexican prince eyes becoming oldest Winter Olympian ever

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Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe is already one of the most interesting Olympians of all time. A skier. A photographer. A pop singer. A German prince who races for Mexico.

The 58-year-old wants to become the oldest Winter Olympian ever in PyeongChang.

“I’m trying hard to qualify,” Hohenlohe said in an Olympic Channel interview. “If I’m there, it would be amazing. If I’m not there, I tried hard to fulfill my dream to be the oldest, and beat the guy that was a curling guy from Sweden, I read.”

Hohenlohe read correctly.

In Sochi, Hohenlohe raced at his sixth Olympics, 30 years after his Olympic debut in Sarajevo. Wearing a mariachi-themed suit, he fell in his first slalom run and did not finish.

Still, he became the second-oldest Winter Olympian ever behind Carl August Kronlund, a Swedish curler who earned a silver medal at the 1924 Chamonix Winter Games (the first Winter Olympics) at age 58.

Hohenlohe is able to compete in the Olympics due to the easy (relative to other sports) qualification process for Alpine skiing, especially in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom.

An otherwise unqualified nation can enter one male and one female Alpine skier in the Olympics who meet a low threshold of international standing. Because of this, more than 70 nations entered Alpine skiers at the 2014 Olympics.

Von Hohenlohe last completed a World Cup race in 2006. He didn’t finish either of his starts in the giant slalom and slalom at the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, last weekend.

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Mexico’s history at the Olympics

Hubertus von Hohenlohe
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Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Mexico’s greatest Olympic achievement occurred 106 years later, when its capital hosted the 1968 Summer Games.

Mexico City’s Olympics are best remembered for Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos‘ black-glove salute on the medal stand after winning gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200m. It was also Mexico’s most successful Olympics in overall medals — nine. Golds were won by boxers Ricardo Delgado and Antonio Roldan and swimmer Felipe Munoz.

Mexico’s most decorated Olympian is Joaquin Capilla, who won four medals over the 1948-56 Olympics in diving, traditionally one of Mexico’s best Olympic sports.

More recent Mexican Olympic notables include race walker Bernardo Segura, who won 20km bronze in 1996 and crossed the finish line first in 2000. However, he was disqualified in Sydney for the common infraction of “lifting,” or not having at least one foot on the ground, three times in the race. Segura had reportedly received congratulations, including speaking on the phone with Mexico’s president, before officials broke the news to him.

Sprinter Ana Guevara was in a lane next to Australian hero Cathy Freeman in the 2000 Olympic 400m final and finished fifth. Guevara won the 2003 World Championship and then silver in the 400m at the Athens Olympics.

Mexico had its most successful Olympics other than 1968 in London in 2012, winning seven medals. The soccer team’s first-ever gold, over Brazil, was the most celebrated.

Mexico earned rare Winter Olympic buzz in Sochi for the presence of its lone athlete, Alpine skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, who became the second oldest Winter Olympian of all time at 55. They marked his record-tying sixth Winter Olympics.

Former world No. 1 golfer Lorena Ochoa, who retired in 2010 at age 28, has said she is not tempted to come back for golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016. If she reconsidered, her path to Rio de Janeiro would not be that difficult. Ochoa would have to be ranked No. 470 to make the Olympic golf field if it was chosen based off the world rankings on Cinco de Mayo.

A possible Mexico bid for the 2024 Olympics now appears unlikely.

Ireland’s history at the Olympics

Olympic Prince performs with mariachi band in Mexico

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Mexican Alpine skier Hubertus von Hohenlohe has vowed to celebrate the culture of the nation of his birth by wearing a mariachi-themed race suit during the Sochi Olympics.

But now – as he is known to do – he has taken things one step further.

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While in Mexico to receive the flag he will carry as the country’s lone athlete during the Opening Ceremony next week, Hohenlohe performed with an authentic mariachi band and had them write song titles and lyrics on the race helmet he will wear during the men’s slalom competition on Feb. 22.

“It was a great time,” Hohenlohe said. “I sang ‘El Rey,’ ESPN Desportes was there, the Olympic Committee had a crew there, but they came and left too early otherwise we would have had the coolest time ever.”

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The 55-year-old prince of German descent will be the second-oldest Winter Olympian in history, and will be representing Mexico for the sixth time. His first Games were in Sarajevo in 1984.

Here are photos from the evening on the plaza, courtesy of Hohenlohe:

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