Sochi 2014: Vanessa-Mae calls herself a 'mad old woman'

By Rob HodgettsBBC Sport in Sochi

Violinist Vanessa-Mae was delighted the Olympics gave a "mad old woman" like her the chance to fulfil her dreams as she made her Games debut.

The 35-year-old, competing for Thailand in the giant slalom under her father's name - Vanakorn - came last of the 67 finishers on a rain-sodden day.

Vanessa-Mae, a British citizen who has been skiing since she was four, ended 50 seconds adrift of winner Tina Maze.

"The experience of being here is amazing," she told BBC Sport.

"You've got the elite skiers of the world and then you've got some mad old woman like me trying to make it down."

The musician, who has sold 10 million albums worldwide, only started training for the Games six months ago but the world number 2,253 achieved qualification last month.

She finished 27 seconds back after her first run and last of the 74 who made it to the bottom out of a starting field of 89.

"With my limited experience at my age I'm happy I made it down," she said. "It was kind of rock and roll, because I nearly crashed out three times."

In her second run, Vanessa-Mae was two seconds quicker than her first but still 11 seconds slower than China's Lina Xia, the racer above her in the standings.

"It was marginally better," she said. "The first run I was just so unprepared for the feeling of speed. I just do not have that need for speed in my body.

"It was so sweet: the crowd, the atmosphere, the people shouting, 'Go Vanessa'. I just wanted to turn around and say 'thank you, guys'.

"This is the Olympic spirit and to be just a small part of it for a few days is special.

"I am shy and I sort of shuffle around the canteen looking at all these amazing skiers and they are really friendly. They sidle up to you and say 'hi' and we talk about music and sport.

"But there's no pressure on me - I am 35 and I only took up racing a few months ago. There is no pressure, only really good spirit. If you do everything when you're young you leave no fun until the end."

Slovenia's Maze revealed she chatted to Vanessa-Mae earlier this week and said it "did not matter" that the violinist was 50 seconds adrift.

"I have huge respect for what she is doing in music," said Maze. "It's great she is here."

Vanessa-Mae was born in Singapore to a Chinese mother and Thai father, but was brought up in London and now lives in the Swiss Alpine resort of Zermatt.

She became only the third person to represent Thailand at the Winter Olympics.