Lack of funding forces Baxter to retire
One of Britain’s most successful ski racers, Noel Baxter, has retired from international competition. He cites the withdrawal of funding from the British ski team in 2010 as a major factor.
Mr Baxter, from Aviemore, represented Britain at two Olympic Winter Games — Salt Lake City 2002, where he finished 20th in the slalom, and Sestriere 2006, where he finished 14th in the combined event.
At the height of his career, from 2002 to 2004, the 31-year-old was ranked within the world top 50 slalom skiers. After undergoing recon reconstructive surgery on his left knee in the summer of 2011, Mr Baxter worked hard to race again last season.
On his blog, Noel Baxter says he had little option but to retire.
“It’s got to the point where I can no longer afford to make it through the season. I perhaps could carry on in a kind of part time way but I know how much time and commitment it has taken me to get into top shape and compete at World cup in the past, I just can’t do that now,” he writes.
“Injuries have also made my situation very hard to manage without much of a support team. Tristan [Baxter’s manager] works tirelessly but there is only so much one guy can do.”
British Ski and Snowboard chief executive Dave Edwards said Mr Baxter’s retirement “epitomises” the UK’s problems with getting athletes on the podium.
“We have more than one million regular skiers in Britain and yet neither they nor the industry that is sustained by that one million can provide any meaningful backing to our British teams,” he said.
“I am personally disappointed that we, as a nation, cannot provide funding to enable our handful of elite athletes to achieve their full potential on the world stage.”