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Alpine Skiing Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 14:13 GMT
Olympic star Baxter breezes in
A welcome kiss from mother Sue Dickson (r) and aunt Penny Rennie
A welcome kiss from mother Sue Dickson (r) and aunt Penny Rennie
Britain's first ever Olympic medal winning skier has arrived home to a hero's reception.

Alain Baxter, who won a bronze medal in the slalom, was greeted by family, friends, fans and even bagpipers on his arrival at Edinburgh Airport.

The 28-year-old is to be honoured with a street party for 1,000 people when he gets back to his hometown of Aviemore, in Invernesshire, on Wednesday evening.


I think now they will realise they have got promising young guys and funding will be pumped into them

Alain Baxter

And after a lengthy journey from Salt Lake City, Baxter said he was glad to be home.

He said: "I've heard they've got a Tartan Army bus so it will be quite wild.

"I was hoping they were 'partied out' from the race so they will not be too hard on me."

'Big boost'

Baxter said the significance of his feat was starting to dawn on him.

"You realise how big the Olympics are," he said.

"I knew before it was like any other race but at the finish it was a lot different."

The skier's parents, Ian Baxter and Sue Dickson, were both Scottish team skiers.

His mother, who has a ski school in France, watched the race with his aunt in Edinburgh.

Alain Baxter on his arrival at Edinburgh airport
Baxter gets a hero's welcome in Edinburgh
Looking back on his victory, Baxter said: "People kept coming round with champagne, I called up and could hardly hear my mum speaking with screaming in the background.

"It's going to give skiing in Britain a big boost. In the last five years I have been the only one who has been properly funded.

"I think now they will realise they have got promising young guys and funding will be pumped into them.

"We've got the biggest base for a long time and they're all young.

"We also have to encourage young skiers to come through and work on junior development and bring them through the ranks."

The star said he planned to have a week off before going to Austria, with the aim of racing in the World Cup finals.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay reports
"His bronze is viewed by British officials as the most significant achievement by a British skier"
Alain Baxter
"Funding is needed lower down the level in my sport"
Alain Baxter appeal

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