The 35-year-old British musician, who once filled concert auditoriums and always looked stylish from tip to toe, has been an avid skier since her childhood years. Despite her global fame she has had a slow-burning wish to compete with the world’s best skiers who take top spots in the World Cup.
Using her father’s surname, Vanakorn
In mid-2010 she announced she would follow her dreams and dedicate the remaining time of the on-going Olympic cycle solely to her career in skiing. She put down her violin and strapped on the skis, explaining: “But it has been my dream, and I am hoping people will accept I just want to give it my best. To even get to the Olympics, I have to qualify for the 2013 World Championships and the standard is high. I know I am always going to be a few points behind the top guys. 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.”
The music star, born in 1978, started from the beginning. She has participated in a manifold of races for FIS points. Since Sochi 2014 is just around the corner and she had not fulfilled the required quota, she came to the Krvavec ski resort this past weekend to participate in 4 races – two for FIS points – and she competed in the Thai national championship for members and juniors, which was evidently organised especially for her.
A real “senior” among the competitors
The results of the races were published by the International Ski Federation (FIS), which can be viewed here. Interestingly, Vanessa took places toward the rear end of the list, but still managed to win the points she needed. At the Thai national junior championship, she was more than 14 years older than any other participant; she was slower than the Slovenian young skiers, too.
But the star – who has been competing as Vanessa Vanakorn, using her father's surname – will probably still participate in the giant slalom race in Sochi, which makes her a (at least indirect) competition to the Slovenian ski champion Tina Maze. Her success was reported by the BBC, which cited the statement of her manager, Giles Holland: “It would appear that she's done it. She's done it by a whisker, but she's done it.” "Vanessa Mae has unofficially qualified for the Olympic Games," added Marko Rudolf, a Slovenian representative of the committee that organised the races at Krvavec.
The fewer points the better …
And what are the qualification rules? The countries without a representative among the 500 top skiers can send a male and a female skier to the Olympics. They can compete in slalom or giant slalom. But the candidate has to fulfil another condition – at five official races they need to gather 140 points or fewer on average – according to the standings good results bring fewer points, which is the opposite than the World Cup.