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Olympics: Mexican 'mariachi' von Hohenlohe crashes out of slalom

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A mariachi-inspired race suit and a scandal involving a topless Lebanese skier got him Olympic headlines but Mexico's German prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe was unable to shine in the men's slalom on Saturday, going out in the first run.

At 55, the oldest competitor at the Sochi Olympics, the Mexican-born socialite crashed out of the demanding course having started as the 113th racer out of 115.

A ski came loose and suddenly the aristocrat was whirled around backwards and thrown ungraciously onto his backside.

He nevertheless smiled and waved to the crowd as he came into the finish area dressed in a ski racing suit designed to resemble the traditional costume worn by Mexican folk musicians with a bolero jacket, cummer band and red neck bow.

"I'm a bit upset but it's OK," said von Hohenlohe after wrapping his bib around his neck to fully show off his suit while posing for photographers and camera crews.

"I feel cool. I gave my best, I would have liked to make it down, but I'm OK with this.

"I did the difficult part and started going for it a little more and suddenly my skis crossed and I hooked one of the tips and crashed. I was nearly there!

"But honestly, it was so difficult, I'm kind of happy that I don't have to do the second run. It was really tough."

A colourful character who grew up in the glitzy Spanish coastal resort of Marbella, Spain, as well as Italy and Austria, von Hohenlohe was taking part in his sixth Olympic Games.

"I think this is it -- unless I find some pills that make me younger," said the aristocrat, who added that he would compete at the 2015 world championships in Vail, Colorado.

"If only I had been able to train a little more. I had a broken leg five weeks ago that nobody knows, which I can reveal now and I skied with a broken leg.

"I didn't make one training run so basically it was amazing that I could ski it at all. I just forced myself to do it and it was OK."

Von Hohenlohe admitted, however, that the long wait for the slalom had played havoc with his nerves.

"I've enjoyed it," he said of the Games in general. "The only problem about this slalom is that it is right at the end, so there is so much waiting, which is kind of nerve-wracking.

"And all the publicity I got -- I feel like everybody's watching me so it's kind of difficult."

Ahead of Saturday, he also made headlines after video footage of a risque photo shoot featuring a Lebanese skier emerged online.

Von Hohenlohe was the photographer behind the calendar shoot of Jackie Chamoun, who raced in the women's slalom on Friday.

The son of a Volkswagen executive, Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, and Princess Ira of Fuerstenberg, von Hohenlohe was the second oldest competitor at a Winter Olympics, after Swedish curler Carl August Kronlund, who was 58 when he took part in the 1924 Games in Chamonix.

Only 77 racers managed to finish the first run of the slalom on Saturday, which also included competitors from Uzbekistan, the Cayman Islands and Zimbabwe.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140222/olympics-mexican-mariachi-von-hohenlohe-crashes-out-slalom