Pop star Vanessa Mae is Thailand’s answer to the Jamaican bobsledding team

Vanessa Mae during a Cape Town performance.
Vanessa Mae during a Cape Town performance.
Image: Reuters
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Vanessa Mae, a violinist who morphed from classical music child prodigy to pop-styled video star, will ski for Thailand in the Sochi Winter Olympics that start next month.

Mae, 35, just barely qualified for the Olympics after skiing four back-to-back grand slalom trial races over the weekend. ”She’s done it by a whisker, but she’s done it,” her manager, Giles Holland, told the BBC. A life-long amateur skier, Mae is known to her  fans for her spirited violin performances, and for mixing techno beats with her music:

Mae’s mother is Chinese and her father British, of Thai descent. She grew up in Singapore and the UK, but will ski for Thailand under qualification rules that allow any country without a skier in the top 500 to send one man and one woman to the Olympics.

She joins a long list of athletes from warm-weather countries who participate in the Winter Olympics, a combination that has rarely resulted in medals but has earned plenty of publicity for participants recognition such as the Jamaican bobsledding team, British ski jumper Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, and Costa Rican cross country skier Arturo Kinch.