Baxter fails in bronze medal appealSubscribe
Rob Burgess 17 October 2002
AFTER SIX WEEKS of deliberation, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decided to confirm the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board’s decision to disqualify Alain Baxter from the men’s alpine skiing slalom event at the Salt Lake City Winter Games.
Baxter finished third in the slalom and was awarded the bronze medal, but a subsequent doping test revealed traces of methamphetamine in his urine sample – a stimulant on the IOC’s list of prohibited substances.
Though Baxter maintained that the US Vicks nasal inhaler he used prior to the slalom race contained levmetamfetamine – a non-performance enhancing isomer of methamphetamine – the CAS ruled that the anti-doping code of the Olympic movement prohibits all forms of methamphetamine and the presence of any prohibited substance results in automatic disqualification, whether or not ingestion was intentional.
"The panel is not without sympathy for Mr Baxter, who appears to be a sincere and honest man who did not intend to obtain a competitive advantage in the race," the tribunal concluded.
"I'm gutted not to be getting my medal back but there's a lot of positive things to come out of this," said Baxter.
"I also feel it's not just my loss. I'm getting things back as normal and in future maybe the policies will change a little bit."
Baxter now falls under the British Olympic Association’s doping bye-law which states that any athlete found guilty of a doping offence is ineligible to represent Great Britain at any future Olympic Games. An athlete can appeal against the bye-law however on the basis that there were significant mitigating circumstances and/or the offence was minor.
"Alain has paid a most severe penalty for a modest mistake and it is clear that the principle of strict liability under-scored this decision," added Simon Clegg, Chief Executive of the BOA.
"I know that I can continue to look Alain in the eye with confidence that he did not knowingly take the US Vick's inhaler to enhance his performance."
Baxter flies out to Austria today to begin training for the new season, which begins, ironically, with a World Cup slalom event in Salt Lake City on 24 November.