Violinist Vanessa Mae set to ski in Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
The British musician will compete for Thailand after a last-ditch attempt to make qualifying standards this weekend
Classical cross-over violinist Vanessa Mae will be swapping her bow for a pair of poles next month.
The British musician will be competing for Thailand in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
A keen skier since childhood, Mae has been competing using her father’s surname Vanakorn, taking to the slopes in Slovenia more than four times this weekend in a final attempt to reach qualifying standard. Which, her manager Giles Holland confirmed to the BBC, she did "by a whisker".
"It would appear that she's done it," Holland said. "She's done it by a whisker, but she's done it."
Speaking about her decision to compete for Thailand, she said: "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."
The current rules surrounding Olympic qualification state that countries with no skiers ranked in the world’s top 500 can send one man and one woman to the Games to compete in the slalom and giant slalom if the athletes meet a second set of criteria.
As Thailand has no skiers ranked in the world’s top 500 for any Alpine discipline, Mae had to produce an average of 140 points or fewer over five recognised races.
According to the results published on the official website of world skiing body FIS, Mae dipped just under the 140 mark average after a strong set of results following four back-to-back giant slalom races in Slovenia, which included her participation in the national junior championships. At 35, she was 14 years older than the next oldest entrant.
It has long been Mae’s ambition to compete at the Winter Olympics.
In 2010, she announced her bid to qualify for Sochi 2014 during an interview with The Telegraph.
"It has been my dream and I am hoping people will accept I just want to give it my best," she told the publication.
"To even get to the Olympics, I have to qualify for the 2013 World Championships and the standard is high.
"I am taking a plunge. I am British, but realistically there is no way I could represent my own country.
"But because my natural father is Thai, they have accepted me."
However, Mae’s place at Sochi 2014 must still be confirmed by the FIS when the final points list is published. The process to allot places for potential competitors based on the points list begins today.
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