World famous violinist Vanessa Mae has swapped the stage for the slopes having set her sights on representing Thailand at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The high achieving violinist is famed for fusing classical and pop sounds; a style that Mae has called techno-acoustic fusion.
Mae has vowed to take a year off music to concentrate on training and competing to qualify for several slalom races at the Winter Games. A minimum of five starts in FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski) competitions are needed to be eligible for the Olympics.
Mae told Reuters news agency: "I wanted to compete for Thailand because there is a part of me which I have never celebrated - being Thai".
Mae will be only one of two Thais to ever take part in a Winter Olympics if she qualifies. Although five Thai athletes, including Mae, are registered for Sochi none have yet qualified. Cross country skier Prawat Nagvajara competed for Thailand in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the 2006 Turin Games.
The move from world famous violinist to world class Olympian might seem a huge step but for Mae, who started skiing at the age of four, it is something she is determined to do. Although the child star has focused on her music career she moved to the Swiss alpine resort of Zermatt in 2009 to spend more time skiing- her other life passion.
The 34 year old has modest ambitions though; "When it comes to music I am a perfectionist but when it is skiing, I have no delusions about a podium or even being in the top 100 in the world."
The violinist prodigy, who hasn’t released an album since 2004, won’t be swapping her bow for skis permanently though. "It's time for a new album but doing this will give me a new perspective. Living my dream of being a ski bum is great but the best job in the world is being on stage, making music," she said.
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