Remember Vanessa Vanakorn? Perhaps the name Vanessa-Mae rings a bell. She’s a professional violinist turned ski racer who benefited from fixed races in Slovenia in order to qualify for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Vanakorn has returned to FIS racing in Tiffendel, South Africa, for the start of the 2017-18 season. In six slalom starts there, she has DNFed twice and her best scoring race was a 12th-place finish, earning 178.63 points. She raced a handful of FIS competitions in 2016 and earlier in 2017 with no significant results after missing the 2014-15 season.
Presumably, her goal is the qualify for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. To do so, Vanakorn will need to meet the requirements of the FIS Olympic qualification system. Born in 1978, the 38-year-old musician does not have to worry about the minimum age requirement. More importantly, Vanakorn must have under 140 points or be ranked in the top 500 in the tech disciplines in order to be able to race in slalom and giant slalom. Currently, Vanakorn has 557.07 points (ranked 3306) in slalom and 350.27 points (ranked 3166) in giant slalom. Based on her recent results in slalom, her points in that discipline should come down to around 190 in the next FIS points list.
Vanakorn was born in Singapore and raised in Great Britain. She races for her father’s home country, Thailand, and competes using his last name. In the 2014 Games, Vanakorn finished in last place in the giant slalom, 50 seconds off of Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who took the gold medal, and was accused months later of fixing races in order to qualify for the Games. In June 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted her four-year ban when the court could not find evidence of any manipulation by Vanakorn herself that justified the initial guilty finding and the imposition of a ban.
Complete results from Tiffendel, South Africa, are available here.