The renowned violinist Vanessa Mae is set to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Mae will compete for Thailand in the downhill skiing competition.
In order to qualify for the Olympics Mae raced four times at the weekend in Slovenia to collect enough points. Mae, speaking to the BBC explained why she had decided to compete for Thailand: “I'm British but realistically there is no way I could represent my own country, but because my natural father is Thai, they have accepted me.”
Mae, who races under the name Vanessa Vanakorn, her father’s surname, admitted that she was a “ski bum” since her childhood and that she had long harboured an ambition to compete in the Winter Olympics.
To qualify to race in the Winter Olympics there are two criteria that need to be met. Firstly a country with no skier ranked in the world’s top 500 can send one man or woman to the Olympics. These skiers however must meet second criteria and that is that they have to have collected an average of 140 points or fewer at five recognised races. Skiers earn points on an inverse scale, so the fewer points they collect the better their ranking. As Thailand doesn’t have a skier in the world’s top 500 Mae met the first criteria and with her display at the weekend in Slovenia, she appears to have met the second criteria. Her manager Giles Holland commented for the BBC that “It would appear that she's done it. She's done it by a whisker, but she's done it."
The final step to confirm Mae’s involvement in the Sochi Games is for the world governing body to verify her points and her position. With her performance in Slovenia at the weekend, in which she produced strong results in the four slalom races on Saturday and Sunday, her team believes that she has done enough. Marko Rudolf, a Slovenian skier with connections to the committee that organised the weekend’s races said that "Vanessa Mae has unofficially qualified for the Olympic Games.” The process of allotting the places for the Sochi Games will begin today.