The International Ski Federation has banned violinist Vanessa-Mae for four years for fixing races to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Associated Press reports.
Competing under her Thai father's last name, Vanakorn, the Singapore-born musician qualified for the Olympics after four giant slalom races between Jan. 18-19 in Krvavec, Slovenia. The 35-year-old, who had trained for less than six months, reached the qualification threshold, but the ISF has ruled cheating took place.
The ISF found several instances of cheating that allowed Mae and two other skiers, San Marino's Federica Selva and Lithuania's Ieva Januskeviciute, to qualify.
Several of the races were adjudicated and manipulated to ensure Mae's qualifying bid would be successful. In the two giant slalom competitions on Jan. 19, for instance, a competitor was included who was not even present at the event. In another case, race courses were not altered for second runs, which is mandated by ISF rules.
Mae, who has sold more than 10 million albums, finished last out of 67 skiers during the Olympics. She was more than 11 seconds behind the second-to-last skier.
The musician has 21 days to lodge an appeal to the ruling.
In July, four Slovenian officials were suspended for their role in the manipulation of races.
- Paul Palladino