Vanessa-Mae to challenge ski ban, calls it ‘nonsense’

Vanessa Mae
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Violinist Vanessa-Mae will challenge a four-year ban by the International Ski Federation (FIS), which said she took part in fixed races to qualify for the Sochi Olympics.

She called the ban “nonsense” in a statement Thursday. Vanessa-Mae’s ban came Tuesday, hours before she played a concert in Prague.

“We will of course take it to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” Vanessa-Mae said in the statement, according to German press agency DPA.

Vanessa-Mae, who skied in Sochi for Thailand as Vanessa Vanakorn, was last among 67 finishers in the Olympic giant slalom, 11.35 seconds behind the 66th-place finisher and 50.1 seconds behind winner Tina Maze.

She was a late qualifier into the Olympics, following four giant slalom races Jan. 18-19 whose results were “manipulated,” according to FIS. Those races were organized at the request of Vanessa-Mae’s management and were her last opportunities to qualify for the Sochi Olympics.

FIS outlined eight ways the races were manipulated, including listed competitors not being present and one skier falling in a run and finishing second, with her time adjusted afterward by more than 10 seconds.

In July, the Slovenian Ski Association president said the qualifying race results were “fixed at the behest of Thai ski officials to meet her qualifying criteria for Sochi,” according to The Associated Press.

Vanessa-Mae, 36, has sold in excess of 10 million albums since her 1995 debut, according to the Guardian. She began playing violin at age 5 and was a child prodigy, one year after she started skiing.

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