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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 11:59 GMT

Baxter protests innocence

By BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson

Banned skier Alain Baxter is to lodge an appeal in an attempt to clear his name of using a performance-enhancing drug.

But the British skier has yet to decide whether he will appeal against losing his slalom bronze medal, which he lost after testing positive for methamphetamine at the Winter Olympics.

Baxter wants the International Olympic Committee to carry out a test to prove that the form of the drug found in his body has no effect on performance.

"I fully believe I have been made an example of by the IOC"
Alain Baxter

There are two forms of methamphetamine.

Baxter was found to have traces of the non-performance-enhancing "L" side in his system from a Vicks inhaler.

But the IOC test did not differentiate it from the more potent "D" side, a stimulant more commonly known as speed.

Baxter wants to persuade the IOC to carry out a split test to establish which type was in his body.

Baxter told BBC Sport Online: "I have to appeal to clear my name. An appeal could also force the IOC to change the rules on methamphetamine.

"The IOC should seriously look into this. Other banned substances like nandrolone have thresholds.

Medal hope

"If methamphetamine had something like this, I would have been well below the threshold.

"I fully believe I have been made an example of by the IOC."

Baxter will have to decide whether to appeal against the IOC's decision to strip him of the medal by 12 April.

He said: "There is a lot to consider.

"There have been cases similar to mine which have been won at appeal. So there is a small chance I could get it back.

"I have kind of come to terms that my medal has gone but maybe I will see it in my living room again."

Baxter is now aiming to get back ski training as soon as possible.

Next week he is heading to Austria to test a number of skis.

But he cannot take part in any races because he has been suspended by the International Ski Federation (FIS) pending the IOC's decision.

"If I'm fit and healthy and still enjoying my skiing, I'm fully intending to be at the 2006 Winter Olympics"
Alain Baxter

FIS will decide at a meeting on 3 June what punishment to meter out to Baxter.

He added: "I should be racing now instead of being at home.

"I've missed a couple of races and I will not be allowed to take part in the Scottish Championships.

"I'm waiting to hear from FIS what ban, if any, they will give me.

"I haven't even thought about a long ban.

"If I'm fit and healthy and still enjoying my skiing, I'm fully intending to be at the 2006 Winter Olympics."


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