Updated: 02/18/2014 11:54 | By Agence France-Presse

Ski and symphony as Sochi gets starstruck

German duo Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Viktoria Rebensburg are favourites for Tuesday's Olympic women's giant slalom, but they could be muscled out of the spotlight by a slender violinist from Thailand.


Ski and symphony as Sochi gets starstruck

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch competes during the Women's Alpine Skiing Super-G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 15, 2014 - by Fabrice Coffrini

Vanessa Mae will trade in her violin for skis and poles when she makes her bow on the Olympic stage after the 35-year-old qualified for the Thailand team.

Mae, who competes under her birth father's surname Vanakorn after taking Thai citizenship, has worldwide record sales in excess of 10 million.

But despite her novice skiing level, she insists she is serious over her Sochi bid with her manager Giles Holland saying: "Vanessa has been told by her coach to turn off her BlackBerry (telephone)."

"She knows that the Olympic Games requires her entire focus. She wants to do well."

Hoefl-Riesch and Rebensburg said they have been impressed by Mae's drive to make it to the Olympics.

"It's interesting there are such people among us, when you see her, how small she is, how petite," said the towering Hoefl-Riesch, who has so far won super-combined gold and super-G silver on the Rosa Khutor course.

"It's tough to imagine how she, being so fragile, can take part in a race, hitting gates."

Rebensburg, the defending Olympic giant slalom champion, added: "Of course, I'm excited. It's great to see such a great musician take part in our sport.

Seven gold medals will be up for grabs on Tuesday after two events were held over from Monday because of fog.

Norwegian star Ole Einar Bjoerndalen will try yet again for a record 13th Winter Olympics medal in the biathlon mass start, which was originally set for Sunday, while France's Martin Fourcade seeks a third gold.

The men's snowboard cross at Extreme Park was also scrubbed from the Monday schedule and will now take place on Tuesday with a shortened format. World champion Alex Pullin of Australia starts as favourite.

The USA freestyle team will be hoping to follow their clean sweep of medals in the men's slopestyle with another sweep in the men's halfpipe, a new event on the programme at Sochi. 

David Wise, Aaron Blunck and Torin Yater-Wallace are among the favourites while in speedskating, the dominant Dutch will be looking for their fourth medal sweep in the men's 10,000 metres. 

Sven Kramer, Jorrit Bergsma and Bob de Jong are expected to dominate.

Gold will also be decided in the Nordic combined individual large hill/10km and women's 3000m relay short track.

Women's bobsleigh stages its first two runs with former US Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones making her long-awaited debut.

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