Vanessa-Mae: Skiing violinist banned for four years
Violinist Vanessa-Mae has been banned from skiing for four years after results were manipulated to help her qualify for the Sochi Winter Olympics.
An International Ski Federation (FIS) hearing panel found "violations" in the Thailand skier's results at an event in Slovenia.
The British citizen, 36, qualified days before the deadline after competing in the hastily-staged races in January.
Five officials involved in the event have also been banned by the FIS.
The competitions in Slovenia were organised at the request of the management of the skier, through the Thai Olympic Committee.
Competing as Vanessa Vanakorn, she went on to finish last of 67 competitors in the giant slalom at the Sochi Games, 50 seconds adrift of winner Tina Maze.
The FIS said in a statement: "The hearing panel found to its comfortable satisfaction that the results of the four ladies' giant slalom races that took place on 18 and 19 January at Krvavec were manipulated."
|Vanessa-Mae - from child prodigy to Olympian|
|A skier since the age of four, it was her ambition to compete in the Olympics for more than 20 years.|
|Made her international professional musical debut at the age of 10 in 1988 and the same year made her concerto debut.|
|Released her first album, Violin, when she was 13 years old.|
|She has amassed worldwide record sales in excess of 10 million.|
Mae was born in Singapore to Thai and Chinese parents and moved to England at the age of four after her mother married a British lawyer.
She earned fame as a violinist during her childhood with a series of performances on British television before going on to launch a successful solo career with album sales running into millions.
Some of the findings of the FIS investigation:
- The results of two giant slalom races on 19 January included a competitor who was not present at, and did not participate in the Krvavec competitions.
- Another competitor was placed second in one race despite the fact she fell. Her time is understood to have been adjusted afterwards by more than 10 seconds.
- A previously retired competitor with the best FIS points in the competition took part for the sole purpose of lowering the penalty to the benefit the participants in the races.
- The weather conditions were so bad that no regular race could be held and "any comparable competition in Slovenia would have been cancelled" according to the competition referee.
The International Olympic Committee said it would not be taking any follow-up action until the outcome of any appeal was known.