Wherever he goes, Hubertus von Hohenlohe is the coolest person in the room. It’s not even a question.
He is, quite literally, Olympic royalty. He has appeared in six Olympic games and qualified again this year, even at the ripe old age of 55. He has his own band. He’s a photographer. He speaks five languages. He was friends with Andy Warhol. He has legendary fashion sense. The man simply oozes cool.
At Sochi, Hohenlohe skied in the slalom; he didn’t even finish after taking a nasty fall, although he had no hope for a medal anyway. Even in his “prime,” back when Michael Jackson wasn’t crazy/dead and Bruce Springsteen was releasing “Born in the USA,” von Hubertus never finished above twenty-sixth in an Olympic event. But all that is okay, because he’s just in it for the fun. Hohenlohe told nevasport.com that he skis to “keep the flame of the exotic countries alive,” even though he is hopelessly and comically outmatched.
Hubertus has a Bryzgalov-esque flair for ridiculous, cosmic quotes like that. After finishing his Giant Slalom run in the Vancouver games, he told reporters, “I am a Renaissance Prince in the snows of Canada, so please don’t look at my time–just look at my style.” Obviously, the Prince is a bit loopy.
Maybe that can be attributed to his upbringing. His parents were Prince Alfonso Maximiliano Victorio Eugenio Alexandro Maria Pablo de la Santísima Trinidad y Todos los Santos and Princess Virginia Carolina Theresa Pancrazia Galdina of Fürstenberg (quite a mouthful, right?). Being the product of German nobility isn’t exactly a typical childhood. Prince Alfonso, known as the “King of Clubs,” founded luxury resorts (really, really luxurious ones) all over the world, and his mother, Ira, was part of the Fiat family. They separated early in von Hubertus’s childhood and had quite a messy divorce, including a small, short-lived street fight involving his mother’s secret lover, his twelve armed bodyguards, and the Mexican police. Wonderful environment for raising children.
Von Hubertus ended up living with his father, mostly in Austria, where he took up skiing and “decided” to become an elite-level skier. He competes for Mexico because he was born there, even though he has citizenship for Lichtenstein as well. He loves Mexican culture enough to give public and overt demonstrations using his Olympic polyester onesies. In Vancouver, von Hubertus donned a suit adorned with pistols and bullets, an embodiment of the Mexican outlaw desperado. Hard as that was to top, the Polaroid Prince may very well have done it in Sochi with this masterpiece: a mariachi-themed ski suit. It’s awesome. And so is he, for entertaining us in a way that most Olympians cannot and will not do. He doesn’t obsess over the sport in the same way that many prominent athletes do. Von Hubertus is great for the Olympics because, like viewers at home, he’s just along for the ride.