LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Four Slovenian ski officials were suspended Friday for allegedly rigging the results of pop violinist Vanessa-Mae to help her qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Competing in Sochi for Thailand as Vanessa Vanakorn, using the surname of her Thai father, she finished a distant last among the 67 racers who completed the two runs in the Olympic giant slalom.
To earn enough points to be eligible for the games in February, she had to compete in official races in Sweden, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland.
The Slovenian Ski Association said Friday it found evidence indicating that the races it hosted in January were "fixed at the behest of Thai ski officials to meet her qualifying criteria for Sochi."
The Slovenian association president, Jurij Zurej, said the suspected irregularities included falsification of times and rankings.
"The starting list included a person who did not even compete, a racer who fell was registered as finishing high in the standings," Zurej said. "In addition, the dates of the competitions did not match the actual state when the races were held."
Zurej said that Vanessa-Mae might not have known about the violations at the time.
Her representatives did not immediately respond to telephone calls and emails from The Associated Press seeking comment about the allegations.
Zurej said Vanessa-Mae competed in four races in Slovenia on Mount Krvavec in January. According to the official reports sent to the International Ski Federation, known as FIS, two events took place on Jan. 17. But the races actually took place the following day, according to Zurej.
The two other races took place on Jan. 19, including one which served as the Thai national championship.
"In a document for one of the races, a competitor is mentioned who actually did not race," Zurej said.
"In another race, one competitor said she fell," Zurej said. "However, according to the documents sent to FIS, she took second place. There are also indications that the timings were wrong."
According to the reports sent to FIS, Vanessa-Mae finished 10th, 9th, 7th and 6th in the four consecutive races in Slovenia, which mainly involved Slovenian junior competitors.
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