Olympic hero is stripped of medal: Friends and rivals back

HeadLine: OLYMPIC HERO IS STRIPPED OF MEDAL: Friends and rivals back
Alain

The Mirror, 22/03/2002, p7
by SHAUN MILNE

THE glower on Alain Baxter’s face told the whole sorry story even
before the first officials words were uttered.
He’d been stripped of his cherished medal, the most cruel punishment
that could have been inflicted.
As he squirmed at yesterday’s press conference, the pain and
frustration on his face was there for the world to see.
But he must gather strength from the avalanche of supporting messages.
In Aviemore, last night there was simply shock.
Baxter’s grandfather Chic Baxter said: “I think we were half expecting
that they would take the medal. It is still a terrible blow. He
definitely hasn’t done anything wilfully or deliberately wrong.
“It will take a wee while to come to terms with this.
“But Alain can hold his head up high. He was third in that race and
he’ll always be third as far as we’re concerned.”
Duncan Rankin, 31, a close friend, said: “Everyone knows that he has
never done anything wrong, and he will still always be our hero.”
At the Cairngorm Hotel barmaid Caroline Murray chalked up a blackboard,
declaring: “Alain Baxter is still Aviemore’s number one.”
And family friend Bob Severn, a former policeman and member of the
drugs squad, spoke for all when he said: “Alain is not a drugs cheat.
He won the medal fairly and squarely.”
Austria’s top slalom star Killian Albrecht also blasted the IOC
decision. He said: “Everyone in the Austrian team is behind him. He’s a
scapegoat.
“They think if they sacrifice a few people now and again it will keep
the rest on their toes.
“When they look for these scapegoats they always target the outsiders.”

**

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Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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