Vanessa Mae banned from skiing

11th November 2014, by Abi Butcher

Results of a ski race that gave Vanessa Mae Olympic qualification were rigged

Results of a ski race that gave Vanessa Mae Olympic qualification were rigged

Violinist Vanessa Mae and has been banned from competitive skiing for four years, along with five officials from Slovenia and Italy, in a race-fixing scandal that is making headlines around the world.

The International Skiing Federation (FIS) has today ruled that results of Mae’s last-minute qualifying race in Slovenia were rigged — so blatantly that times were invented for skiers who didn’t race and another skier being placed second despite the fact that she fell.

Last year British citizen Vanessa Mae, 36, competed for Thailand in the Sochi Winter Olympics giant slalom, using her father’s last name of Vanakorn. She took part in qualifiers in Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and then Slovenia — and in Sochi finished last of 67 racers, 50 seconds after the winner Tina Maze.

The January 2013 qualifier in Slovenia was hastily organised by Mae’s management, through the Thai Olympic Committee, and earlier this summer the FIS launched an investigation into “irregularities”.

Today, the FIS has banned five race officials from Slovenia and Italy for between one and two years for their role in the scandal, and imposed a four-year competition skiing ban on Mae.

The FIS said in a statement: “The hearing panel found to its comfortable satisfaction that the results of the four ladies giant slalom races that took place on 18 and 19 January at Krvavec were manipulated.”

According to the competition referee, the race was run in conditions so bad “any comparable competition in Slovenia would have been cancelled”.

“A previously retired competitor with the best FIS points in the competition took part for the sole purpose of lowering the penalty to the benefit the participants in the races,” the FIS said.

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