Internationally renowned classical violinist Vanessa-Mae is planning to go to the Sochi Olympics next year, not as a musician but as an athlete.
According to RT she'll be representing Thailand as a skier in two Winter Olympic events: slalom and giant slalom. And although she's a British citizen, she'll compete for the country her father, Varaprong Vanakorn, was born in.
"The passion of my whole life is music, but the hobby of my whole life is alpine skiing," she told television and radio outlet MIR regarding next year's competition. Vanessa-Mae has had the goal for over a decade, originally trying to compete at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics for Thailand as a skier. Unfortunately the opportunity would have meant giving up her British citizenship so she decided not to.
In 2010 the violinist went before Thailand's Olympic Committee requesting the place her on the list of competitors which they agreed to. The red tape wasn't a problem this time as she received a Thai passport in addition to her British passport, as well as an exception.
Last August Mae told China Daily of her dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete and how she started skiing at the age of four.
"As you age and mature you realize that you have one life and you have one dream, and that's kind of a wake-up call," she told the publication. "Everybody thought I was crazy, but it's something that I want to get serious with. I've only got one and half years before the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics begin, so I'm working hard on it."
The musician — who will only be the second athlete from Thailand ever at the Winter Olympics — has been training regularly for some time now, hitting the slopes in the morning for several hours before some physical training in the afternoons. She plans to do further training in South America later this year.
"My expectation is to qualify for and participate in the Olympic Games," she said. "I'm not going to have a podium in this lifetime, because people have been training since they were 8 years old. You can't really start in your 30s and win a gold."
She also told China Daily that she might try to combine her two passions while in Sochi.
"It would be so cool if you can wave your flag, jump on the stage to play the violin, and ski two days later," she said. "Why not?"
Mae rose to prominence with her album The Violin Player in 1995 but has often crossed over into pop music. In 1997 she appeared on the song "Velvet Rope" from Janet Jackson's album The Velvet Rope. She released her last album Choreography in 2004.