Violin prodigy rigs Winter Olympics qualifying events

JUST how Singapore-born and British-raised violin prodigy Vanessa Mae earned the chance to represent Thailand in the downhill skiing at this year's Winter Olympics was a question that had defied belief.

Now it has been revealed the 36-year-old fiddled her way in, conspiring with her own management company and the Thai Olympic Committee to rig four qualifying races in Slovenia to secure the points she needed to make the 67-strong field.

In announcing Mae had been banned for four years, the International Ski Federation said one retired skier who still had a high world ranking took part to boost the qualification points available from the events. And several other competitors who were given worse times than Mae (pictured) did not even take part.

Five officials from Italy and Slovenia have also been banned for up to two years for their part in the sham.

Mae finished a distant last in the giant slalom.