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Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 13:04 UK

Injuries force Baxter retirement

By Anna Thompson

Alain Baxter
Baxter hinted at retirement two years ago

British slalom skier Alain Baxter has announced his retirement from international competition.

The 35-year-old has been dogged by injury and decided to call it a day after two decades in the sport.

Baxter will be best remembered for finishing third in the 2002 Winter Olympic slalom to claim Britain's first ski medal.

But he was stripped of bronze after testing positive for the banned substance methamphetamine.

Baxter was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after proving the failed test was caused by an over-the-counter nasal inhaler.

But he was unable to have his medal returned by the International Olympic Committee because of its strict liability rule.

Baxter said: "I had always planned to make it to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics but this is the first year I have felt that my injuries could have prevented me from performing to the best of my ability.

“Naturally, winning then losing an Olympic bronze medal in 2002 was one of the happiest and lowest points of my career.”

The Scot, nicknamed the Highlander, recorded four top 10 finishes in World Cup races, including a fourth place at the season-ending finals in Are, Sweden in 2001, when he was ranked 11th in the world.

“I am most proud of securing four top 10 World Cup finishes for Great Britain and becoming the first British skier in almost 50 years to qualify for a World Cup finals slalom,” he added.

After the drugs controversy, Baxter struggled to regain his form and mixed with mounting injury problems, he slipped out of the top 100 in the world.

Baxter was signalling the end of his career by skiing the slalom course at the British Championships in Meribel, France, on Thursday wearing a kilt and stopping for a dram of whisky half way down.

The former Superstars winner is setting up a sports consultancy firm and will also undertake media work.

Mark Tilston, Snowsport GB head coach, said: “Alain Baxter will always be one of the greats of British ski racing. He has shown that skiers from these shores can compete and beat traditional alpine nations.

“The trail that Alain has beaten has inspired a new generation of young ski racers who now follow in his tracks.”




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see also
Retiring Baxter proud of record
02 Apr 09 |  Winter Sports
Baxter bares all for Olympic bid
06 Nov 08 |  Winter Sports
Baxter hints at skiing retirement
18 Nov 07 |  Winter Sports
Baxter's long Olympic wait ends
25 Feb 06 |  Winter Sports
Drugs scandal damaged me - Baxter
24 Jan 06 |  Winter Sports
Alain Baxter
30 Sep 03 |  Profiles
Baxter hails moral victory
18 Oct 02 |  Alpine Skiing
Baxter's turbulent times
02 Sep 02 |  Other Sports
Alain Baxter on medal decision
21 Mar 02 |  Forum


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