Winter Olympics: Colin Murray's five to watch
Who will be the Usain Bolt (or the Eddie the Eagle) of the Winter Olympics? Colin Murray picks the most memorable characters
Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe-Langenburg is the type of glorious name you end up with when you are a blue-blooded Mexican German. Making his sixth trip to the Winter Olympics to compete in the slalom (19 Feb), the 55-year-old has to keep going till 2018 if he’s to beat the record of Swedish curler Carl August Kronlund, who won silver in 1924 aged 58, and become the oldest-ever Olympian.
Good old Hubert has won no elite medals, but his place in history is assured: he’s about to become the longest-serving Winter Olympian of all time, with appearances spanning 30 years.
“What about his team-mates?” I hear you cry. Well, he doesn’t have any, as he is once again the only Mexican competing. I think I actually want to be Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe- Langenburg.
Redemption for Lolo
American Lori “Lolo’’ Jones is a big deal in the USA, but her selec- tion for Sochi has caused vibrations strong enough to cause an avalanche.
A double indoor world champion at the 60m hurdles and unlucky not to make the podium in the 100m hurdles at London 2012, the 31-year-old is about to join a list of 128 sportspeople who have competed in both summer and winter Olympics – and she’s no the only one. She and Lauryn Williams – a 2012 Olympic gold medallist in the 4 x 100m relay – have been picked as brake for two of the three US pairs in the two-woman bob (18/19 Feb).
However, it’s Lolo – a Christian and self- proclaimed virgin who has said her chastity is “harder than training for the Olympics” – who has drawn the fire of critics and athletes who missed out. Her performances seem to justify her call-up – but a medal, which is certainly a possibility, would soon settle the debate.
Hottest nation on ice
There are few things in sport quite as barmy as the Jamaican bobsleigh team. Immortalised in the 1993 film Cool Runnings, an account of their first qualification for the Winter Games at Calgary in 1988, their two-man team of Winston Watt, 46 (pictured left in 2002 with Lascelles Brown), and Marvin Dixon, 28, are set to be the story of Sochi (16/17 February).
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They’ve raised more than $100,000 in online donations to pay their way. To add to the fairy tale, Jamaican chef de mission Nelson Stokes was part of the four-man team who captured hearts across the globe more than a quarter of a century ago. They’ve not got a chance in hell, but that’s not the point. Repeat after me... Rise and shine, it’s butt-whippin’ time!
Tchaikov-sky to Alpine-Ski
The mere thought of Nigel Kennedy hurtling down a mountainside in tight lycra is enough to make a man turn his back on sport, so thank goodness Vanessa-Mae hasn’t started a trend. Under the surname Vanakorn, she’ll be cutting up snow in the Alpine skiing (21 Feb) for Thailand, native land of her father.
Her distinctive style of playing the violin has made her millions. But she moved to the Alps and took the past 12 months off in a bid to realise her skiing dream. She hasn’t much chance of finishing near a podium, but she’s still better at most things than most of us. Good on her.
Ahn you are?
Mention the name Ahn Hyun-Soo and few people will know he won three Winter Olympic golds at Turin 2006, representing South Korea. So the fact that he’s now called Viktor Ahn and competes in the short track speed skating (from 10 Feb) under the Russian flag (below) should raise a few ski goggles.
His change of allegiance came after a very public spat with his coaches that caused such grief that he spent his last months in Korea training with the women’s team. Since the South Korean skaters are, let’s just say, not best pleased with Viktor, his visit to Sochi may have as much chance of passing off peacefully as Mario Balotelli’s stag night.
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