Baxter hands back his bronze medal to IOC

IT WAS in his possession for just one month, but now the bronze medal Alain Baxter fought so hard to hang on to is back in the possession of the International Olympic Committee.

The 28-year-old Aviemore-based skier handed back the Winter Olympics slalom medal to the British Olympic Association on Tuesday

It has been sent on to the IOC headquarters in Switzerland, where staff said it would be cleaned and prepared for presentation to Benny Raich, the Austrian skier who came fourth. An IOC spokeswoman said: "He handed it back to the BOA this week and they have sent it on to us. We have to clean it and make it nice for the new person."

It had been claimed Baxter would hang on to the medal so he could present it to Raich, who described the decision to disqualify his rival as a "joke", but the IOC was adamant the medal had to be returned.

Baxter was stripped of the medal after testing positive for the banned stimulant methamphetamine. His claim that he was unaware of the drug’s presence in a Vicks nasal inhaler, which he bought in the US, was not accepted by the IOC.

The BOA has pledged to back any appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but although Baxter has said he plans to ask the court to overturn the IOC’s decision, he has not yet lodged an appeal.

Baxter has also been banned for life from competing in the Olympics, although the BOA has said he stands a good chance of overturning that decision.