For many, featuring at the Olympic games is the greatest achievement one can aim for in life. To represent your country at the highest level of sport, to stand amongst the best in the business, to walk past the Olympic rings is an iconic moment that you will never forget. For Vanessa-Mae all those moments were tarnished. She represented Thailand at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi to be later banned from competing ever again. Read on to know her story.
Vanessa-Mae is a professional violinist and avid skier. While a British citizen Mae decided to represent Thailand in the sport as she knew she had a better chance of qualifying. She was right, despite her relatively slow times she managed to qualify for the Winter Olympics. Her performance was spirited yet, in the end, she finished last, 50 seconds behind the winner.
She was so far behind the pack that many started to question how she possibly qualified. The governing body was suspicious too and started to look into her qualifying tournaments. They said they found evidence of manipulation. They believed that Mae’s own management company had organized the qualifying races in association with Thailand’s Olympic Committee, simply to get her into the tournament. They said that retired racers were entered who had high rankings, to boost the number of qualification points of each race.
Yet Mae chose to appeal and won. In June 2015 the decision to give Mae a ban was overturned and she was cleared of any wrongdoing. In February 2016 she was given a settlement fee for being wrongly accused and defamed. Her name has now been cleared.
The shocking story and controversy is nothing new to Mae. An incredible violinist Mae has famously performed with stars such as Prince and Janet Jackson. She was under the spotlight previously for performing a concert for Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov in 2011 despite his implications in human rights and torture.
While Mae is not one to shy away from the spotlight to have her name dragged through the mud for something she was later acquitted off is a difficult process to go through. While it is unlikely that we see her again at the Olympics let’s hope she doesn’t let this experience stop her from shaking things up. We always need more underdog stories.