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Drug offense costs Brit bronze medal

The first British skier to win an Olympic medal was stripped of the award Thursday for using a decongestant that contained a banned stimulant despite his claim he made an innocent mistake.

The International Olympic Committee's executive board said Alain Baxter will be stripped of his bronze medal for testing positive for a methamphetamine contained in a Vicks Inhaler he used at last month's Winter Games.

"The mere presence of the substance in the body constitutes a doping offense," IOC director general Francois Carrard said. "There is no room to take into account whether it was in good faith or not. That's a rule, and we absolutely have to apply it."

The medal will go to Benjamin Raich of Austria.

The IOC also disqualified Vasily Pankov, a hockey player from Belarus who tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. The team doctor, Evgeni Lositski, was banned from the next two Olympics.

Baxter was the third athlete to lose a medal for a doping infraction in Salt Lake City. Five cases have been confirmed from the Games, matching the total at all of the previous Winter Olympics.

Baxter said he would consult with lawyers on whether to appeal.

"It's been a long three weeks, going from the best couple days of my life to the worst three weeks," he said. "I just want to get on with my life."

_ Compiled from Times wires.

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