UK & World News
Vanessa-Mae's Olympic Skiing Qualifier 'Fixed'
Four ski officials have been accused of rigging the results of a race which helped classical violinist Vanessa-Mae secure her place at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The famous musician-turned-athlete made her Olympic debut in February, competing for Thailand as Vanessa Vanakorn, using the surname of her Thai father.
The celebrity went on to finish 67th and last in the giant slalom.
To earn the points to qualify for the Games she took part in several official races including one in Slovenia.
The Slovenian Ski Association said on Friday it found clear breaches of International Ski Federation (FIS) rules including irregularities concerning times and rankings - and evidence indicating the races it hosted in January were "fixed at the behest of Thai ski officials to meet her qualifying criteria for Sochi".
SSA director Jurij Zurej said: "The starting list included a person who did not even compete, a racer who fell was registered as finishing high in the standings.
"In addition, the dates of the competitions did not match the actual date when the races were held.
"Based on those findings, we have decided that the four persons responsible for that race will not be able to work in the name of the SSA for a period of four years, and we have sent a sample of the findings to the public prosecutor."
He stressed there was "absolutely no proof any athlete including Vanessa was (knowingly) involved in any activities that would breach any of our rules or those of FIS".
The 35-year-old, who was born in Singapore and raised in Britain, said after the Games: "The Olympics is like the greatest show on earth and to just share the same snow, to be able to slide down the same snow that the elite skiers carve down is just an honour and a privilege."
The star, who has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide, took a year off from her music career to prepare for Sochi and reportedly left her violin at home during the Games to concentrate on skiing.