BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

Winter Olympics
You are in: Alpine Skiing  
Front Page 
Statistics 
Alpine Skiing 
Other Skiing 
Skating 
Ice Hockey 
Bobsleigh 
Luge & Skeleton 
Snowboarding 
Curling 
Paralympics 
Features 
BBC Coverage 
Photo Galleries 
Venue Guide 
Event Guide 
Team GB 
Ones to Watch 
Olympic Quiz 

Ace Powder's Mountain Mayhem

BBC Sport

BBC News

BBC Weather

Alpine Skiing Sunday, 24 February, 2002, 00:24 GMT
Baxter bronze boosts Britain's future
Great Britain's Alain Baxter
Baxter's glory could inspire younger Brits
BBC Sport's skiing expert Martin Bell hopes that Alain Baxter's Olympic bronze will lead to a brighter future for British skiing.

Alain Baxter's second run in Salt Lake City was part of an incredibly exciting race.

The slalom is unpredictable at the best of times, but when you have a course breaking up as much as that then it is a case of anything can happen.

As a slalom skier you have to gamble - take a few risks and make it to the bottom whatever.

Alain did that perfectly.

Consistency

I've known since he was fourth in the final World Cup of last season that he was capable of it.

And to be honest the results he was getting earlier this season were not so bad that I thought he was completely without hope.

He had a lot of consistent runs that were 13th or 17th, close to the best but not quite there.


We must remember that Alain did not make his breakthrough until he was 27, so we must be patient with our younger skiers.

Former Olympic skier Martin Bell

In a sense the bronze medal has now seen him consolidate his status as a world class slalom skier.

It helps that he has the right temperament.

The psychological pressure in the slalom is huge.

You have your first run - and Alain would have known after that that there was an outside chance of a medal - and then you have a two-hour break.

Inspiration

This means you have an eternity to get nervous about the second run.

Alain managed to keep calm though - he is a down to earth guy and that has really helped him through.

Hopefully what Alain has done will inspire more kids to go to their local dry ski slopes, join a race training club and go out to the Alps.


With the right support and funding perhaps some of our other skiers can make the breakthrough too

Bell 's hope for the future

Maybe more will start to train in their school holidays, and certainly in Scotland hopefully kids will be skiing every weekend in races at Scottish resorts.

If this happens with the eight, nine and ten year olds then a fantastic pool of talent could come through in ten years time.

There is also the hope that the 19 and 20 year olds such as Noel Baxter, Alain's younger brother, and Chemmy Alcott, who has been competing for the women's team, will get more funding.

Rankings

They should now get the right backing for them to follow in Alain's footsteps.

We must remember that Alain did not make his breakthrough until the age of 27 so we have to show patience in our younger skiers.

Skiing is intrinsically unfair. The higher-ranked competitors always get to start first on the smoother courses making it so hard for those down the rankings to ever work there way up.

But with the right support and funding then perhaps some of our other skiers can also make the breakthrough too.

 THE BAXTER STORY
Alain Baxter loses his bronze medal for failing a drug test

Follow BBC Sport Online's coverage of the Winter Olympics

Statistics

View from Utah

Inside Team GB

Photo galleries

Clickable guides

Games history

Official site links
Links to more Alpine Skiing stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more Alpine Skiing stories



© BBC ^ Back to top

Front Page | Statistics

Alpine Skiing | Other Skiing | Skating | Ice Hockey | Bobsleigh
Luge & Skeleton | Snowboarding | Curling | Paralympics

Features | BBC Coverage | Photo Galleries

Venue Guide | Event Guide | Team GB | Ones to Watch | Olympic Quiz