Hubertus von Hohenlohe: Mexico's One-Man Winter Olympic Team or Wes Anderson Movie Character?

Hubertus von Hohenlohe: Mexico's One-Man Winter Olympic Team or Wes Anderson Movie Character?


Hubertus von Hohenlohe: Mexico's One-Man Winter Olympic Team or Wes Anderson Movie Character?

Pop quiz: how many athletes will Mexico send to the Winter Olympics in Sochi?
Yep, you guessed it … one.

And that one man is the fantastically named Prince Hubertus of Hohenlohe-Langenburg or simply Hubertus von Hohenlohe, if you’re into the whole brevity thing. If the Internet is to be believed, he also records music under the name Andy Himalaya.

We’re less than two weeks from the Opening Ceremonies. Almost all the headlines leading up to the Sochi Games have been negative such as Russia’s anti-gay policies, the corruption in building the venues and (most concerning) the persistent worries about terrorism. If we’re looking for somebody to rally around, why not a 54-year-old renaissance man who founded the Mexican Ski Federation in the early 1980s and will compete in his sixth Olympiad?

Take a look at this crooning music video he released in 2013 titled “Higher than Mars.” Even David Hasselhoff might have a hard time getting through it with a straight face.

The quick biography: Prince Hubertus’ parents — Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe and Princess Ira Fürstenberg — are German royalty (whatever that entails) but he was born in Mexico in 1959 while his father was in charge of a Volkswagen plant. He later moved to Spain when he was a child and spent most of his life in Austria where he learned to ski. Although he hasn’t spent much of his jet-setting life in Mexico, he can still represent the country of his birth at the Olympics, although it opted against sending him to Turin in 2006.

Over the years, Prince Hubertus has been a musician, photographer and all-around bon vivant. Naturally he spent the 1970s hanging out at Studio 54 with Andy Warhol … as wealthy heirs to the Fiat fortune are wont to do. Reading his biography is probably how Wes Anderson came up with the plot for the upcoming The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Anyways, we should all be so lucky to start a one-man Olympic team on a whim, right? At Sochi he’ll become the second-oldest Olympian in history.

Hubertus admittedly doesn’t spend very much time in Mexico — only a couple weeks here or there at a family home in Cabo San Lucas — but in an interview with Time in 2010 he said he is proud to represent the nation of his birth.

“In life you have a couple of opportunities and openings,” the prince argues. “And one of them was that I was born in Mexico. Sure, I used it to my favor. But not in an abusive way. You try to find that little thing that makes a difference, and take advantage of them. I took advantage of it.”

Don’t worry, in the Prince’s mind his Olympic accomplishments — he placed 38th in the downhill in 1984 — are beneficial to Mexico, too.

“I’ve also created a lot of publicity in European countries for Mexico,” he says. “When people are sitting in their houses in Sweden, thinking how cold it is, they think, ‘Wow, this guy is from Mexico. Maybe I should go to Cancun or Acapulco to visit it.’ I’ve done a lot for the country too. It’s give and take.”

See, he’s truly a man of the people.

Life, it would seem, is all one private joke for Prince Hubertus, although it’s hard to tell if we’re supposed to be laughing with him or at him.

Oh right, what about the racing outfit he wore at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that featured bandoliers and pistols on it? Here’s what he said about it: “The main thing was looking good. I won. On artistic impression. Isn’t this the coolest suit ever made? The design was my idea—I did it with an Italian designer in Turin. I call it Mexican Desperado.”

Shine on you crazy diamond.

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