Violinist Vanessa Mae cleared of race-fixing allegations
Mae awarded damages for defamation from International Ski Federation
She was accused of qualifying for 2014 Winter Olympics at fixed ski races
Musical maestro Vanessa Mae has had her name cleared of race-fixing allegations.
The multi-million selling violin star has been awarded damages for defamation from the International Ski Federation (FIS), which wrongly accused her of qualifying for the 2014 Winter Olympics at fixed races.
Mae, who finished 67th in the giant slalom at Sochi under the name Vanessa Vanakorn, was given a four-year ban by the FIS in November 2014, only for the Court of Arbitration (CAS) to overturn the suspension in June 2015.
The FIS, which had adjudged the results of the 37-year-old’s final Olympic qualifying event in Slovenia to have been manipulated, said in a statement that it has apologized and made an “appropriate payment” to Mae, which she intends to donate to charity.
“Ms. Vanakorn and her entourage did not in any way fix, contrive or improperly influence the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of the FIS-approved races,” the statement added.
“The fact that the International Ski Federation has apologized to me says it all,” Mae told BBC Sport after the decision was announced.
‘Weak FIS rules’
The qualifying events in question were organized by the Thai Olympic Committee at the request of Mae’s management. They were the last chance for the violinist to represent her father’s homeland, Thailand, at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
CAS said when clearing the violinist that the qualifying races arranged on short notice in January 2014 were allowed by weak FIS rules.
Mae, who was born in Singapore but grew up in Britain, returned to competitive skiing in March and is targeting a place at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Her appearance in the giant slalom at Sochi made history as she became Thailand’s first ever female skier and only its third representative at the Winter Olympics.
Mae made her solo violin debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London at the age of 10 and three years later she became the youngest soloist ever to record the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos.
She is now a household name in Britain and much of the rest of the world, with global sales in excess of 10 million.