British violinist Vanessa Mae is about to represent Thailand in Alpine Skiing at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics this coming February. She also holds Thai citizenship by her father.
Vanessa Mae started skiing at a young age and has been competing regularly as Vanessa Vanakorn using her father’s surname. The skiing world governing body FIS (International Skiing Federation) has confirmed her eligibility to compete at Sochi Olympics following several races in Slovenia this month in an attempt to meet the qualifying standard; her FIS number is 905000. She said that she is British but that realistically, there was no way she could represent her own country so she will be competing her father’s country.
Under current Olympic qualification rules, countries with no skier ranked in the world’s top 500 may send one man and one woman to the Games – to compete in Slalom and Giant Slalom – if those athletes meet a second set of criteria. Thailand has no skiers ranked in the world’s top 500 for any of the Alpine disciplines. To meet the second criteria, Mae had to produce an average of 140 points or fewer over five recognised races. Athletes earn points on an inverse scale based on their performance, so the fewer points an athlete has, the better they are.
Last year she announced she was taking a year off her music to qualify for the games. But she has previously said that she intends to return to music: “Living my dream of being a ski bum is great but the best job in the world is being on stage, making music.”