Skiing: Baxter waits to hear if Olympic bronze medal will be returned

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Alain Baxter faces a month-long wait to hear if his medal appeal has been successful. He is attempting to win back his Olympic bronze after it was taken from him for failing a drugs test at the Salt Lake City Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport concluded a two-day hearing into the appeal yesterday, and the Scotsman said: "I believe that my team made the best possible presentation of my case."

The 28-year-old tested positive for the banned stimulant methamphetamine after finishing third in the slalom at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City in February. He was the first British skier to win an Olympic medal.

The International Olympic Committee found Baxter guilty of a doping offence, disqualified him and took away his medal. However, Baxter contends the positive test resulted from his innocent use of Vicks Inhaler, a nasal decongestant which, he says, has no performance-enhancing benefits.

Baxter says the British product he used does not contain methamphetamine, while the version he bought in the United States does contain a mild form. Under the IOC's strict liability rule, however, athletes are responsible for any banned substance found in their body, regardless of how it got there.

The British Olympic Association supported Baxter's appeal, and the BOA chief executive Simon Clegg said: "Both the IOC and Alain Baxter's legal teams have put forward their arguments to support their positions to the tribunal. This is now a matter of legal interpretation and we now await the decision of the tribunal with considerable interest."

Baxter has already won his first battle with the authorities. He appealed against a three-month International Ski Federation ban, which had initially ruled him out of racing until 15 December. His first World Cup race will now be the slalom in Park City, in the United States, on 24 November.