Slovenian officials suspended for rigging violinist's Olympic qualifying
Four Slovenian ski officials have been suspended after evidence was found that they manipulated the results of races in order to allow violinist/skier Vanessa Mae to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to multiple reports.
Mae, a former child prodigy and renowned violinist who has sold over 10 million records worldwide according to her official Olympics profile, was born in Singapore to a Chinese mother and Thai father and was raised in England. Thailand approved her request to compete for it in the winter Olympics, and Thai ski officials allegedly made the request to have the results of races in Slovenia rigged so Mae would receive a qualifying score, reports the Associated Press.
According to the French news service AFP, there's no evidence that Mae, who competed under the last name Vanakorn, her father's family name, knew about the manipulation, and there's also currently no clear evidence that any bribes were received by the Slovenian officials.
In order to qualify for the Olympics for a country that has no skiers in the world top 500, a competitor must average no more than 140 points over five international races. Mae averaged between 230 and 270 points before racing in Slovenia.
At Sochi, Mae finished last among the 67 skiers who finished in the women's giant slalom, more than 11 seconds behind the second-to-last skier.
- Ben Estes