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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 06:54 GMT
Drugs scandal damaged me - Baxter
By Anna Thompson
Winter sports editor

Alain Baxter
Baxter during his slalom run at the 2002 Winter Olympics
British skier Alain Baxter has admitted the drugs scandal at the Salt Lake City Olympics has hit his subsequent career.

Baxter finished third in the men's slalom in 2002 but was stripped of his bronze medal for failing a drugs test.

As he prepares for the 2006 Games in Turin, he told BBC Sport: "Of course it has affected my career, but I don't think about it any more.

"The medal's gone so why dwell on it? Being angry and bitter would not help. I've just got to pick myself up again."

There is no reason why I can't win a medal in Turin
Alain Baxter

On Wednesday, the British Olympic Association will announce the alpine squad for February's Winter Olympics.

Baxter will definitely be named in the squad and will be aiming to put the turmoil of the past four years behind him.

In 2002, Baxter inadvertently took banned substance methamphetamine which was in an American version of a Vicks inhaler. The British version Baxter had used for years did not have the ingredient in it.

He was cleared of deliberate wrongdoing but because of the International Olympic Committee's strict liability rule, Baxter had his medal, result and ranking points taken away.

The Scot was ranked 11th in the world at the end of the 2001 season but since the disappointment of the 2002 Olympics he has struggled to maintain his form and fell to 59th in 2005.

Pre Salt Lake City:
9 top 20 results (3 top 10)
Post Salt Lake City:
6 top 20 results (0 top 10)

He has yet to break into the top 30 in World Cup races this season although he has recorded top two five results in the second tier of competition, the Nor-Am and Europa Cups.

Undeterred, Baxter believes he can spring a surprise in the Winter Olympic slalom at Sestriere on 25 February - and again become Britain's first medallist in an alpine sport.

"There is no reason why I can't win a medal in Turin," he said.

"You can never tell. You've got your rock solid favourites in Giorgio Rocca and Benjamin Raich but anything can happen in a race and especially in the slalom.

"For me it's the smallest thing that needs to be tweaked and I'll be back on form again.

"It might sound like a big thing when I've not had any great World Cup results for a while but I think I know more than anyone how my form is."

Interview: British skier Alain Baxter


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