With the Beijing Winter Olympics just around the corner, HSH Prince Albert attended a ceremony at the Monaco Yacht Club on Tuesday, January 18, to announce the Principality’s flagbearer, and to wish the Monegasque Winter Olympic team good luck.

28 year-old Alpine skier Arnaud Alessandria will bear the red and white flag at the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, February 4.

This will not be Alessandria’s first gig at the Winter Olympics, having competed for Monaco in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The skier has also competed both nationally in France and Italy and internationally for the World Cup.

The Principality has enjoyed long-term involvement in the Winter Olympic Games, as Prince Albert himself has competed in five Winter Olympics as a member of Monaco’s bobsled team, and continues to be an Honorary Member of the International Olympic Committee.

Monaco will be among 90 countries to send a delegation to this edition of the Winter Olympic Games, which has been dubbed by some as being the most political Olympic Games in a generation.

Prevalent political factors have led to some countries boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics, if only on a diplomatic level. On December 6 the Biden administration announced that it would not send an official United States delegation, although more than 200 US athletes will be taking part. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” were the reasons behind the US diplomatic boycott.

The United Kingdom’s PM, Boris Johnson, announced just days later on December 8 that no ministers would attend due to alleged human rights abuses, adding that “there will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.”

Featured image: Arnaud Alessandria