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Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 14:46 GMT
Baxter fails drugs test
Alain Baxter celebrates on the podium with his bronze medal
Baxter is the first Briton to win an alpine skiing medal
Olympic slalom bronze medallist Alain Baxter has revealed he failed a drugs test at Salt Lake City.

The Scot tested positive for the prohibited substance, methamphetamine, a stimulant that could aid an athlete's performance because it improves reaction times.

The 28-year-old denies knowingly taking any banned substances.

The British Olympic Association issued a statement on Tuesday saying it had been notified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that one of its athletes had produced a positive sample.

Baxter, Britain's first ever alpine skiing medallist, released a statement through the BOA which said he was "devastated" by the news.

I have never knowingly taken any medicine or substance to improve my performance

Alain Baxter
He said: "Late on Friday afternoon, I was telephoned by Simon Clegg, team GB's chef de mission, who told me that he had been advised by the IOC's Inquiry Commission that the sample I had produced following my slalom performance at the Games contained traces of a banned substance.

"Naturally I am devastated by this news.

"I have therefore decided to make public that I am the athlete in question because I have never knowingly taken any medicine or substance to improve my performance and, as such, believe that I am entirely innocent.

"I am now working with lawyers and medical experts to present my case to the IOC's Inquiry Commission (and the IOC's Disciplinary Commission), which I am advised is unlikely to convene until next week, with a view to defending myself successfully against the charges of doping.

"I do not intend to conduct my defence through the media and, as such, I am not making myself available for interview and will not be making any further statement on this matter until the IOC's Inquiry and Disciplinary Commissions have ruled on my case."

Alain Baxter
Baxter is doing no interviews until his case has been heard
The BOA said its primary concern was for the welfare and defence of the athlete and that it would not be making any further comment or involving itself in any speculation until the due process is complete.

The IOC revealed on Tuesday that two athletes failed drugs tests on the final weekend at Salt Lake City.

However, the other athlete has not come forward and his or her identity remains unknown.

It is unusual for alpine skiing to suffer from a drugs scandal, but the cross-country skiing competitions had already been affected by failed drugs tests.

Russia's Larissa Lazutina and Spain's Johann Muehlegg were both stripped of their gold medals after testing positive for Darbepoetin.

If Baxter fails to clear his name he, too, could suffer the ignominy of being stripped of his medal.

Baxter is sponsored by whisky liquer makers Drambuie.

Company spokesman Chris Lansdell said: "We are aware he has tested positive for drugs but until we hear the outcome from the IOC, we are not going to comment further.

"We're not going to prejudge what the IOC has to say."

BBC Sport's Gordon Farquhar
"Baxter says he is totally innocent"
BBC News' David Miller
"The reaction across Scotland is one of shock"
British Skiing Federation's Graham Bell
" I am convinced he's not a cheat"
Alain Baxter loses his bronze medal for failing a drug test

See also:

05 Mar 02 | Front Page News
Bell stunned at Baxter news
05 Mar 02 | Alpine Skiing
The Highlander's biggest challenge
25 Feb 02 | Front Page News
Proof positive for Olympic drug tests
24 Feb 02 | Other Skiing
Drugs test denies Lazutina gold
26 Feb 02 | Other Skiing
Muehlegg tests positive again

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