Sochi 2014 Look-Back: The Prince and the Luger

NBC SportsDesk correspondent Ben Fogle interviewing Mexican skier Hubertus von Hohenlohe.
NBC SportsDesk correspondent Ben Fogle interviewing Mexican skier Hubertus von Hohenlohe.

In my last post, I talked about the Athletes’ Village. Now I’m going to tell you about two athletes I had the pleasure of meeting in the village. You probably won’t know these individuals. They didn’t win any medals at Sochi 2014. But they each have interesting stories that deserve to be filed under the “Memorable” folder.

The Most Interesting Olympian In the World

Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe
Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe

Mexico had only one athlete compete in these games. His name is Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, though the land that he is a prince of no longer exists and is now a part of Germany. Hubertus is a skier, and though he probably skis better than me, he’s not a very good skier compared to every one else competing. Sochi was his sixth Olympics. In Vancouver, Hubertus finished 78th in the Giant Slalom and 46th in the Slalom.

But his skiing isn’t what makes this man a news-maker. Hubertus is more known for the outfits he wears while he skis and his playboy attitude. He’s also a photographer, a businessman and a pop singer. Literally, he sang about pop.

He released singles under the aliases of either Royal Disaster or Andy Himalaya. Dubbed by many as “The Most Interesting Olympian,” Hubertus was a popular interview following Mexico’s flag-raising ceremony at the Mountain Village.

Cameras from different international TV networks awaited to talk to Prince von Hohenlohe.
Cameras from different international TV networks awaited to talk to Prince von Hohenlohe.

Of course, NBC gets him first, beating out the lovely Mexican reporter who waited with her crew for hours to talk to the country’s only athlete. For at least 10-15 minutes, Hubertus basked in the NBC spotlight as he was interviewed by SportsDesk correspondent (and British fan favorite) Ben Fogle. Then of course, we needed to get some iso shots of him just standing there, adding another five minutes to the wait. That’s the power of NBC. And no one else seemed to mind at all.

Here’s a link to the story that aired on “Olympic Zone”. By the way, Hubertus competed in the men’s slalom in Sochi and skied off course in the first run, earning himself a DNF next to his name in the final results.

Competing under a different flag

The other athlete I wanted to bring attention to was Shiva Keshavan. He’s a luger from India that didn’t get to compete for his home nation at Sochi 2014.

India was punished for electing corrupt officials to its Olympic committee. The IOC had suspended India’s membership, leaving its athletes without a country to compete for. During the opening ceremony, India’s three athletes marched into Fischt Olympic Stadium under the IOC flag.

Keshavan gained initial fame at the Olympics for his spectacular save during a morning luge training run when he initially crashed but miraculously recovered. Under the IOC flag, competing as an independent athlete, Keshavan finished 37th in the men’s singles luge competition.

But midway through the Games, India held new elections, prompting the IOC to restore membership to India. On the middle Sunday of the Olympics, India had their proper welcome ceremony.

Team India walks into the Village Plaza for its flag-raising ceremony.
Team India walks into the Village Plaza for its flag-raising ceremony.
Smiles from Team India.
Smiles from Team India.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Keshavan, who happened to be the only athlete of the three Indian competitors that could speak English. He was great to talk to and is so well spoken and humble. While he wished he competed for India in Sochi, Keshavan was happy to see his competitors get the opportunity to represent their home country.

Keshavan was one of a few athletes from warm-weather countries that were profiled in this Olympic Zone piece.

Two athletes that didn’t need a medal to be memorable.

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