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Alain Baxter, "Superstar" away from the slopes

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The Times reports on the problems Alain Baxter is having translating his form in training into performances in the big events on snow. The BBC "Superstars" programme show just how fit he is, dominating the competition televised last Sunday, and no one should put any money on him not winning the final (to be shown towards the end of this month).

His slalom ranking has slipped - he is now down to 59th in the World Cup slalom rankings - and will be penalised by a low start position in Saturday World Championship slalom as a result. Few believe he can pull himself up into the top 30 in Bormio.

Still, the 2006 Olympics remain his principal goal and technical director Mark Tilston is optimistic...
Quote:
“Alain .... needs to start pinching results and soon. He has not been skiing well and there is no clear rationale for it. He skis with the same equipment as the guys on the podiums in World Cups, his commitment and physical preparation is perfect and technically he is skiing as well as ever. I am confident we will see a good result in Bormio.” And Turin? “He is perfectly capable of winning the gold medal, ” Tilston said.

Baxter, 31, is less direct but no less hopeful. “There is no reason why I cannot be up there again,” he said. “Kalle Palandar (of Finland) is a prime example. He was world champion at 21, had two or three shocking seasons — where I am now, really struggling — then the next thing you know he has won four World Cups in a row.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
PG, Errrmmmm, having seen him on 'Superstars' last weekend with other athletes 'close' or 'in' retirement ( Amir Khan being a noticeable exception), you have to question his motivation for skiing.

It would be a great shame if someone so obviously talented had lost the focus and commitment to win , but then again I hope my analysis is totally wrong. He does come across as a really nice guy and I hope for the Brits among us he does 'recover' whatever he has really 'lost' by next year.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Didn't see it myself... not sure if this is the British or the International version. Seem to remember that he took part in the International Superstars (all this recorded months ago of course), and a little bird tells me he didn't do at all badly...

He certainly is motivated, but can't seem to perform when it matters at the moment. His times are right up there with his Austrian training partners, high up in the World Cup points standings. That said, after you've drifted in the standings you end up with a low start number on a chopped up slalom course, and that's like being given a handicap of a second or two before you start.

Ref. Superstars, you can't really draw any conclusions unless you know just how fit the opposition is, but it's a fact that skiers always do very well in this type of event - training regimes are some of the toughest there are, at altitude, involving much cross training, resulting in genuinely all-round sportsmen and women.
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PG, It was the British version .. given the other final 'qualifiers' It would be a surprise to me if he didn't win it.

Your points on his low start number are well taken, but the facts remain that he has'drifted' in the standings and this after he seemed so happy with his new skis (according to the reports) ... what do you put this down to ?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Seems like a lack of confidence, if this snowRacers report from the recent Kitzbuehel World Cup slalom is anything to go by. He's not getting any younger either. And he was so upbeat following the move to Atomic at the start of the season.
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I think Alain has often suffered from confidence issues. It would be nice if Snowsport GB could employ a sports pyschologist to help the Alpine team maximise their performance.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Alain's just crept into the top 30 (he came thirtieth) after this morning's first run of the slalom in the World Champs. Means he starts with bib no. 1 in the second run - starting in a few minutes on Eurosport - so don't switch on late, or you'll miss it!

Brother Noel just missed out, at 32nd, so will have to go after the top 30 in the second run, and on soft snow cutting up badly, he'll have no real chance of doing well. Still if Alain pulls out the best performance of the season he could make top 20, which would be great...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Just starting, in a minute or two's time.... Baxter first off.....
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Excellent second run from Alain!
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17th over all. Very good. Thanks for tipping us off on that, PG.
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Nick Zotov, Think he might have ended up 16th, one guy straddled then carried on, he'll have been disqualified - but figured in the provisional results.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I think Alain's second run was the 5th fastest, coming in in exactly the same time as Benni Raich who took gold.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Alain needs support and probably a bit of sports psychology help (he quite possibly has it anyway, but we don't know about it). It's a shame that the British ski-ing public is still more interested in bl**dy football than our skiers - see the TVs in the bars! Mad

All our guys are doing very well, and should be supported by the press and the British holiday skiers. Chemmy Alcott's foot looked awful on Channel 4 last week - she deserves a medal for even competing at Bormio.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
PG, Ah. Hadn't realised that. Thanks for the info.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I know it'a now a bit late in the season, but let's hope that this result will give Alain Baxter a bit of a boost. As rob@rar.org.uk, says, Alain actually got the 5th fastest time on the second run, which is some result, although I suspect that he actually benefited from going 1st (by virtue of his 30th place from the first run) because the course really cut up for the later (and better) competitors - Bode Miller straddled (I think). Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Some comments after the race from Alain, here on snowRacers. Note both other Brits got into the top 30 as well...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Interesting that the Eurosport commentator suggested the straddler could be fined for carrying on skiing, after it happened. It's true that most racers know when they straddle a gate, but there are occasions when it's borderline, and if there's any doubt in the skier's mind you can hardly blame him for carrying on.
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