Vanessa-Mae, the internationally renowned violinist, has announcedher plans to represent Thailand at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Swapping her bow for poles and strings for skis, she is attempting to qualify for the downhill ski event. Talk about a change of direction.
The 34 year old musician, who has dual British-Thai nationality, is required to compete in five internationally recognised qualifying events to help secure enough points to qualifty to compete at the Winter Olympics. Her first downhill ski event is in April and Mae has already begun training in Zermatt, Switzerland.
By her own admission, Mae accepts that people are surprised to hear that in spite of being ‘a classical violinist, Oriental, who has lived in the city her whole life’, she is also a passionate skier. But she claims ‘it has been my dream to be a ski bum since the age of 14’.
Despite having spent the majority of her life in Britain, Singapore born Mae has a Thai Father. The Thai Olympic committee agreed to her proposition and awarded her a passport reportedly because she was someone of ‘special talent’. She has become most famous for combining classical violin with pop music.
Mae, whose full name is Vanessa-Mae Vanakorm Nicholson, will become only the second ever person to compete for Thailand at the Winter Olympics. If she qualifies, she will follow in the footsteps of Academic Prawat Nagvajara, a cross-country skier.
‘I wanted to compete for Thailand because there is a part of me which I have never celebrated, being Thai’.
‘Just to qualify for the Olympics in my hobby would be a dream come true.’ ‘When it comes to music I am a perfectionist but when it is skiing, I have no delusions about a podium’.
The violinist plans to return to music next year whether she qualifies or not, nad she hopes that her year long sabbatical will at least give her a new perspective when she comes to record a new album.
by Jack Goodman