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Strange slalom turn in topless pictures row

12-02-2014 14:12:38

(Reuters) - In one of the odder sideshows of the Sochi Olympics, two skiers from Mexico and Lebanon are embroiled in a controversy over topless photos that one took of the other.

Lebanon's Jacky Chamoun apologised on Tuesday after racy pictures and a video from an old photoshoot surfaced on the Internet, causing a stir in her Arab nation.

She said they were taken during a shoot for an Austrian ski calendar three years ago. The newly surfaced images, more revealing than those in the calendar, had not been meant to see the light of day.

Step forward Hubertus von Hohenlohe - aristocrat, photographer, businessman, pop singer and skier - who at the age of 55 is competing in his sixth Olympic Games and will represent Mexico in the slalom.

Von Hohenlohe, who descends from German nobility, was born in Mexico and has both Mexican and Liechtenstein passports, confirmed on Wednesday he had taken the pictures of Chamoun. But he said he had not made the video, and he had no idea how the latest material had found its way on to the internet.

In any case, the images were "not that heavy", he said. "They're very elegant and serene," he told Reuters, adding that he had spoken to Chamoun on Tuesday.

While she may regret having posed, he said, "she can't be upset with me - I didn't put anything anywhere" on the Web.

Chamoun, a slalom specialist who lives in Switzerland and took part in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, said on Facebook: "I want to apologise to all of you, I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture. I fully understand if you want to criticise this."

In a show of support for the skier, her post had by Wednesday afternoon attracted well over 12,000 'likes'.