Violinist Vanessa-Mae rehearses for a new role - Olympic skier

Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:03am EST
 

By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Violinist Vanessa-Mae has put music on hold for a year and is rehearsing for a new role - skiing for Thailand at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014.

Vanessa-Mae, 34, is in training with the aim of competing in at least five internationally recognized events to qualify for the giant slalom and possibly the slalom at the Sochi Olympics.

"People are surprised when they see me skiing - a classical violinist, Oriental, who has lived in the city all her life," Vanessa-Mae told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"But it has been my dream to be a ski bum since I was 14. This is something I am determined to do."

The violinist is a British citizen but she also holds a Thai passport. She was born in Singapore to a Chinese mother and a Thai father but she was brought up in England when her mother remarried a Briton.

Vanessa-Mae, whose full name is Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson, would be only the second Thai to compete at a Winter Olympics if she qualified. Academic Prawat Nagvajara represented Thailand in cross-country skiing at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.

"I wanted to compete for Thailand because there is a part of me which I have never celebrated -- being Thai," said Vanessa-Mae. "My father, like most Thais, has never skied but he's really excited about me doing this as is the Thai Olympic Committee."

Vanessa-Mae started skiing at the age of 4 but music has always been her priority. She made her international professional debut aged 10 and made her mark on the world stage when she broke from tradition and became known for her sexy, glamorous style and for mixing classical music with pop.   Continued...

 
Violinist Vanessa Mae is seen performing on stage during a concert in Prague in this September 25, 2008 file photograph. Vanessa-Mae has put music on hold for a year and is rehearsing for a new role -- skiing for Thailand at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014, she said in an interview on January 19, 2013. REUTERS/David W Cerny/Files