Alain Baxter sets sights on London 2012 as a cyclist
June 9 - Alain Baxter(pictured), Britain's most successful ever skier, wants to compete as a cyclist at the London 2012 Olmpics, he said today.
The 35-year-old Scotsman retired from sking in Apri, less than a year before the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, because he claimed that his body could no longer stand the strain of competing at the highest level.
But he has now enrolled in experimental talent transfer programme, which is aimed at getting athletes competing in different sports, at the University of Stirling.
Baxter, who lives near Stirling with his wife and two children, said: “I competed at the very top but I had to quit as my discs have gone. I was getting really deep back spasms.
"I’m still in pain.
"But it was for the best as you have to put yourself at risk with every race.
"That becomes harder as a parent.
“So for cycling to be worth my while, I have to be at the highest level.
“That means next year’s Commonwealth Games, which could be a stepping stone to the Olympics.
"Really I should have been heading to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next year.
“So cycling at the Commonwealth Games has given me light at the end of the tunnel.
"That’s why I have to do this."
But Baxter, who won the bronze medal in the slalom at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City but was stripped of it after he tested positive for an over-the-counter inhaler that was banned, admits that the odds are stacked against him, especially with the strength of depth in British cycling.
He said: "The truth is I needed to do something after skiing - I couldn’t just stop and get fat.
"I’m at a crossroads."
|April 2009:||Alain Baxter announces his retirement|
|August 2008:||Another British Olympic athlete strips off to boost profile|