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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 00:33 GMT

Dixon's last stand

Great Britain's Mike Dixon was in sentimental mood after competing in his fifth and final Olympic individual biathlon event.

The 39-year-old Scot, who carried the British flag during the opening ceremony in recognition of appearing in six Olympics, finished 74th in the 10km sprint which was won by Einar Bjorndalen.

Despite missing just one out of 10 targets, he finished four minutes adrift of the gold medal winner.

It was a far cry from his best Olympics result when he finished 12th at Albertville in 1992.

Dixon did not qualify for the pursuit event after finishing out of the top 60 Wednesday and will compete in his last Olympic biathlon event - the men's relay - next week.

"They all know where I'm from and that in Scotland there's not much snow"
Mike Dixon

The Briton said afterwards that he was just glad it was all over.

"Oh, it's such a relief, you're looking at a dead man standing," commented the Briton.

"I never get emotional about these things. Carrying the flag was perhaps a reward for my efforts over the years where I've tried my hardest to win a medal for Britain.

"It never happened, but the most important thing for me has been being there and putting in the best effort I possibly can."

He added that he is a familiar figure on the biathlon circuit and a respected one - despite the fact he never reached the heights of his European counterparts.

"Yes, of course I know most of the more famous guys, and they're all brilliant. It's a real family atmosphere in biathlon - there's always someone giving me a pat on the back," he added.

"They all know where I'm from and that in Scotland there's not much snow. But just by taking part and fighting my hardest I've got the respect of a lot of people."

The Salt Lake City Games will not mark the end of Dixon's Olympic career, because he plans to join Britain's shooting team at the 2004 Athens Games.

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