• Winter Olympics

Violinist Mae to compete at Sochi

ESPN staff
January 20, 2014
Vanessa Mae was racing at the weekend in Slovenia © Getty Images

Violinist Vanessa Mae will be skiing for Thailand at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month.

Mae, who had been competing under the surname Vanakorn of her father, has qualified for the event after coming through a second set of criteria under current Olympic qualification rules.

Mae had been racing in Slovenia at the weekend in order to fulfil the qualifying criteria. Under Olympic regulations, countries who do not have a skier inside the top 500 in the world rankings are allowed to send one man and one woman to the Games, if they meet a second set of criteria.

And the second set of criteria requires skiers to average 140 points or fewer based on their performances in five recognised races. And Mae average under 140 to qualify following giant slalom races on Saturday and Sunday.

"It would appear that she's done it. She's done it by a whisker, but she's done it," Mae's manager Giles Holland told the BBC.

Meanwhile, Great Britain's Elise Christie says there will be "all to play for" in the short-track events at Sochi following an injury to her rival.

Christie, who won European 1,000m gold, believes the likely absence of World and Olympic champion Wang Meng has opened up the field after she broke her ankle.

"I was pretty devastated for her, she's someone that has a lot of respect in this sport," Christie said.

"But it'll make a difference. It'll be quite a lot different without her."

There is a possibility of Meng recovering in time for the Games, and Christie added: "She's an amazing athlete. It could be her last Games, and [the injury] is sad for anyone. She's one of the top skaters, especially tactically - she just takes control."

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