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World famous violinist Vanessa Mae makes Olympic debut in Sochi

February 18, 2014, 13:49 UTC+3 18
Her Olympic debut on the first run on Tuesday resulted in an overall 74th place
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© EPA/JUSTIN LANE

SOCHI, February 18. /ITAR-TASS/. World’s famous musician Vanessa Mae stored aside her violin a while ago to devote most of her time to skiing practices in an effort that eventually resulted in her Olympic debut on Tuesday at the 2014 Winter Games in Russia’s Sochi.

However, not all of the sports fans were aware that a Thai skier competing on Tuesday in women’s alpine skiing event was well-known Vanessa Mae, as the 35-year-old violinist raced the slope of the Rosa Khutor course under the surname of Vanakorn.

The musician-turned-to-be-athlete has been a devoted skier since childhood and though she is a British subject, Mae also holds a Thai passport and was allowed to perform for Thailand under her father’s surname of Vanakorn.

Her Olympic debut on the first run on Tuesday resulted in an overall 74th place after she finished the course 26.98 seconds behind the leader, Tina Maze, of Slovenia. Her debut still can be called a success as 15 skiers were not able to finish at all the complicated Rosa Khutor course and one athlete did not start.

Mae first intended to make her Olympic debut at the 2010 Winter Games in Canada’s Vancouver, but the National Olympic Committee for the United Kingdom (the British Olympic Association) said at that time she would have to abdicate her British citizenship to compete for the Thai team.

She again announced her ambitions to take part in the next Winter Olympics in the summer of 2010, when she told The Daily Telegraph, "It has been my dream and I am hoping people will accept I just want to give it my best.”

“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," she was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying at that time.

Mae was born in Singapore in 1978 to a Thai father and a Chinese mother. The talented musician, however, was raised in England after her parents separated and Mae’s mother remarried a British attorney.

Besides Mae, this year Thailand is also represented by alpine skier Kanes Sucharitakul. The first ever Thai athlete to take part in Winter Olympic Games was Prawat Nagvajara, who performed for Thailand in cross-country skiing at the 2002 Olympics in US Salt Lake City and then at the 2006 Olympics in Italy’s Turin.

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