February 15, 2018 / 4:45 AM / 4 months ago

Olympics-Alpine skiing-Deadly Mexican uniforms bring team to life

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The skull-covered, Day of the Dead-themed uniforms worn by the Mexican Alpine skiing team are a hit with the athletes and have even won over their initially skeptical Olympic Committee, racer Sarah Schleper said on Thursday.

The suits, which depict red flowers and blue diamonds on top of enormous skulls in an homage to the Mexican holiday, at first stoked controversy among committee members.

But after seeing fans celebrate the bold attire, the controversy is itself dead.

"It feels amazing to ski in them," the 38-year-old Schleper told reporters after finishing her first run of the women's giant slalom event at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre.

"They said we won the gold medal for suit design so I'm proud to be rocking it. I tried to get really tight and fit to wear this speed suit."

She added the flamboyant ensemble fits the personality of the team, which was "full of passion and life and lust", perfectly.

The suits recall the exuberant mariachi folk costume worn by six-time Olympian Hubertus von Hohenlohe at the Games in Sochi in 2014.

While the 59-year-old is not competing in Pyeongchang, he was on hand to help Schleper cope with pre-race jitters on Thursday.

"He has been entertaining us all morning, singing, rapping," she said.

"Before my start I thought my voice was going away so we did some breathing techniques. I felt really confident and good in the start.

"He has been by far the most inspirational person I've met."

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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