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British skier Baxter stripped of bronze Olympic medal

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well, guys, here's the IOC ruling on Alain Baxter, as reported by the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/winterolympics...00/1882870.stm
A few salient points:
- Slalom was introduced to the 1936 Winter Olympics by British ski pioneer Sir Arnold Lunn.
- 66 years later Alain Baxter won the first Olympic medal a British alpine skier has ever won.
- Within a month he was stripped of it.

IT'S A BIG MESS!!!
post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
The story is very simple.
Baxter says he used a US Vicks Inhaler when in Salt Lake, which has a different formula to the Vicks Inhaler he'd used in Britain since a kid.
The US Vicks Inhaler put enough methamphetamine into his bloodstream to produce a positive drugs result.
The expert consensus seems to be that methamphetamine has no benefit to an alpine skier.
post #3 of 23
(DG,

deleted my previous post as it seemed impertinent.)
You'd think at this point people competing in the Games, given the ample precedent, would be pretty aware of the potential problems with particular kinds of products.
Well, I would, anyway.


amphetamines, sports

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 21, 2002 07:10 AM: Message edited 1 time, by ryan ]</font>
post #4 of 23
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
ryan
I don't think anyone would take issue with you. Based on his account of events he made a catastrophic mistake and is paying a catastrophic price.
But there may be a question as to whether the IOC are being 'a little' harsh, if the chemical had no benefit to him (and possibly could have actually harmed his performance).
I've personally met Alain Baxter's father Iain, mother Sue, and step-father Kenny. They are all fine people, former competitive skiers and coaches of ski instructors, who all originate professionally from the Scottish ski resort Aviemore.
There was a huge celebration there a few weeks when their hero returned.
It's all now turned to a wake.
A very sad story!
post #6 of 23
That is such bad news for him (and everyone else involved, and British skiing).

I can see how you could, after buyng Vicks for years in one market, just sub-consciously assume it is the same in other markets. And does it have 'methamphetamine' written on the packaging, or do these athletes usually get them tested in a lab?

Poor, poor guy.
post #7 of 23
As sad and dissapointing as this is, rules are rules. I am not familiar with the Winter Games, but I do know that for the Summer Games every coach is given a VERY specific list of ALL over the counter drugs and prescriptions that are illegal. Regardless that the list is incredibly long and ridiculously including some very basic drugs it is an established list that details every drug, every derivitive of that drug and all forms it comes in. It is the coaches and athletes responsibilty to comply. As far as a "too harsh" punishment, it would make sense that all positive tests be dealt with in a consistent manner. If exceptions were made, every EPO injecting cheat would have a chance to argue and possibly get away with thier actions.

Rules are rules and to be an athlete of that caliber... at the Olympic Games!!!.... I would think that there would be a heightened awareness and caution as to what you can and cannot take. This is very similar to the Romanian (?) gymnist that had her medal stripped after testing positive, because her coach gave her an OTC sinus med.

Although I am very far from being a pharmeceutical expert, I don't think that these drugs are put on the banned list for fun. It would seem that they have to have some type of performance enhancing quality or potential to be banned.
post #8 of 23
What the hell is meth doing in Vicks?

I mean, really?

I associate methamphetimine with outlaw bike gangs not over the counter medication?

Well, I'm off to Walgreens!
post #9 of 23
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by astrochimp:
Well, I'm off to Walgreens!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Astro, while you're there, could you get me some - UK Vicks doesn't have any in it!

S
post #10 of 23
Ouch.
I was happy seeing at last a Brit competing
at top level with the monsters like the
French, the Americans and the Austrians
(Italians, especially the "boys" aren't quite in the same league, lately, sic).
I am afraid this will ruin the "momentum" he had gathered from the Winter Olympic...
I hope not, but...
As far as Rules, that's true, rules are rules.
post #11 of 23
This seems to be the same situation of Romanian gymnast in the last Summer Games. She was stripped of her All-Around gold.

In the gymnast's case, the decision was very quick. Only a day or so elapsed between the event, the test, and the decision, if I remember correctly. Why did this skier's case take so long to decide????

Got to wonder why these athletes don't just avoid all OTC meds.
post #12 of 23
I am not sure there is any answer to this. The fact is that Baxter has been held to have broken the rules and the others did not,presumably including the guy who was fourth and now gets a bronze- but what value is that to him? He knows he was fourth and if he believes Baxter he knows that Baxter beat him fair and square, with no "performing enhancing " drugs.

The whole drug thing needs to be looked at again. Nobody, I assume, disputes the basic proposition that anybody taking performance enhancing drugs should be stripped of medals and banned etc. It is when you get to the detail that it all becomes very murky.

Those of us with long memories can recall a Scotland football player (for our American readers that is what you would call soccer)sent home from the 1978 World Cup (which unlike the World Series does include Nations from various continents- a cheap jibe I know as I believe it is named after a newspaper)for failing a drug test because of taking an over the counter cold cure. It has happened before, the query is why do they (athletes) never learn not to take anything without being absolutely sure it is ok- but then hindsight is always marvellous. A variety of Dutch football players tested positive for drugs (and were banned)and they all swore blind ,to a man, that they had taken nothing not approved by either their team or National team doctor.

In short a hard lesson learned a hard way.I think he probably did break the rules but I am also of the opinion that he did not "cheat". He took a cold cure and now he has the rest of his life to regret it. That in my view is pretty hard.
post #13 of 23
we'll see what he ACTUALLY DOES but there is word that Raich might snub the IOC and not accept the bronze medal. (don't know how it applies in this case, but apparently Raich and Baxter are on good terms with one another.)
post #14 of 23
I know the press views comments that Raich will turn down the metal as a snub of the IOC but one of the news stories indicates he would be turning it down out of respect for his friend Baxter. Or at least Raich would turn it down because he did not feel he had "won" it - it was simply being awarded to him.

This is sad. The only lesson I see here is to be sure you carry enough of the various medications you need from your own home market so you don't have to go buy more over the counter in a foreign market. Even brand names may not be the same product.
post #15 of 23
Given the level of competition, I would be afraid to even eat or drink just prior to the games, just fearing that "Ivan" or "Fritz" would have something slipped into it.

I'd sustain on box lunches packed by my own Mom ........ Hmmmmmmmmmm she wouldn't now would she? :
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Here's Alain Baxter's full account of what happened: http://www.ifyouski.com/news/newsart...jectID=4381515
There's talk of an appeal against the IOC's decision.
When the story first broke three weeks ago, some of the UK press were suggesting he'd taken speed, they now seem to believe his innocent version of what happened.
It will certainly be interesting to see whether the 4th placed skier - Raich - decides to accept the returned bronze medal from the IOC. I certainly think it's important that we hear the views of Alain Baxter's slalom competitors.
post #17 of 23
doping is so crazy

There are stories every day in www.velonews.com and in www.cyclingnews.com

edit: by crazy I mean the whole thing is nuts. what people will take to win, what they can't take in order to compete (see last year's tour de france incident with j vaughters and the bee sting, to what a doctor can say an athlete needs, false positives, etc

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 21, 2002 03:09 PM: Message edited 1 time, by astrochimp ]</font>
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
astrochimp - your words:
"by crazy I mean the whole thing is nuts. what people will take to win, what they can't take in order to compete"
----
This is actually an issue in Alain Baxter's case. Although there have been doping incidents in x-country skiing, slalom skiers don't seem to go in for doping at all, which is one reason why Baxter's competitors seem to consider him innocent.
Having said that I attended speed sking events on a few occasions some years back. Some of the competitors there looked to have suspiciously high muscle bulk. Does anyone know of steroid use by speed skiers/downhillers etc.?
post #19 of 23
Anyone remember Crystal Haus(sp?), a female(?) Austrian racer from back in the '60s-'70s (I may have the name totally wrong)? There was some question about her taking male hormones and steroids although that was before any testing was being done.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 21, 2002 04:00 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PowderJunkie ]</font>
post #20 of 23
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by colin:
In short a hard lesson learned a hard way.I think he probably did break the rules but I am also of the opinion that he did not "cheat". He took a cold cure and now he has the rest of his life to regret it. That in my view is pretty hard.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It is hard, but on the other hand wouldn't you make DAMN certain that any meds you were taking were not on the banned list? As others have said, rules are rules. If the rules say meth is a banned substance and the penalty is stripping your medal, what else could they reasonably do? It is very, very unfortunate, but I think they really have to follow the rules as they are written.

Keep in mind that those who really do take performance enhancing drugs try to blame it on something else when they get caught. So who determines who's excuse is truth and who's excuse is fiction??
post #21 of 23
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SkiKing:
It is hard, but on the other hand wouldn't you make DAMN certain that any meds you were taking were not on the banned list?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But if you have been taking a med in Europe then go to the US for the Olympics and buy what looks like the same med over the counter, wouldn't you expect it to have the same contents? Almost like a case of bait and switch.

I do not disagree with drug testing and competitors respondsibilities but this looks to be a very unfortunate case of miss-direction.
post #22 of 23
According to a spoksperson from Proctor and Gamble the nasal spray in question does not contained methamhetamine and can not be the source for Baxters positve drug test. The IOC is now going to test the nasal spray.
I am also not clear as to wheather a ban has been issued. It is my understanding that FIS will review this case and issue the penalty period. Possibly a similar case as the Norwegian weightlifter who was tested positive at the Sydney games, the Track federation suspended him only six months. This was because they ruled that the banned substance found in his weight supplement had not been disclosed on the packing slip.
As to IOC disqualifying Baxter, rules are rules. Should it be considereded a different case because it was the Olympics rather than any other FIS race? Personally, I think that the IOC have done a great job in getting serious at getting at the cheaters, specially in cross country skiing.
post #23 of 23
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by astrochimp:
There are stories every day in www.velonews.com and in www.cyclingnews.com
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The difference is I think that cycling has been riddled with drugs for a long time, and it is a well known fact, because you can get enormous performance gains from drugs in cycling that either increase oxygen uptake or stamina etc. Likewise in cross-country.

But in this case, although rules are rules, there is a clear ambiguity (IMHO) about a) the drug, which is not the street drug derivative and b) the fact that the gains for a slalom skier taking meth would be regarded as negative.

On the other hand, with all the warnings and publicity about drugs, the slip-up of not getting the drug cleared (when it seems all other drugs they were taking were being cleared by the BOA doctors) was a terrible error of judgement.
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