AVIEMORE biathlete Scott Dixon has put pen to paper in a bid to write his name into Winter Olympic history in Pyeongchang. 

The cash-strapped Dixon, whose father Mike competed in a record six Olympics for Great Britain, has published his first children’s book as part of a crowd-funding campaign to offset recent funding cuts and raise the £4,000 required to continue his qualifying campaign on the World Cup circuit.

Dixon and fellow British biathlete Amanda Lightfoot were told this month that ailing governing body the British Biathlon Union could no longer afford to fund their international travel, but he has come up with a novel way of keeping his dream of competing in the global showpiece in South Korea in February alive.

“I never intended to write kids’ books, but writing was always a hobby of mine and when my dad’s partner had another child I thought I’d give it a try,” said Dixon.

“I did all the writing and spent 300 hours learning to draw so I could do all the illustrating myself. It has helped raise £2,000 in its first week alone.”

His literary creation, ‘Pup The Brave’ tells the story of a puppy who is stranded on one side of a river and needs to overcome its fear of swimming in order to safely reach its friend on the other side. Dixon, who also hopes to make it available as an e-book soon, says he has more books in the pipeline and he may well need them after admitting the financial crisis currently afflicting the domestic sport is the worst he can remember.

Three BBU committee members resigned in January, citing the seemingly insurmountable funding battle, but the board was reconstituted which at least enabled the team to retain a presence on the World Cup circuit.

“We’ve always had a financial crisis and we’ve always managed to come out of it, partly because we’ve had a certain amount of money from the international governing body,” added Dixon. “But the BBU is run by volunteers and there’s no money there. I’m spending all the money that I get on the sport in the hope that I will be able to complete the season and get the results I need to qualify for Pyeongchang.”

The funding shortfall is only the most recent obstacle which Dixon, who relocated from Speyside to Lillehammer in Norway a few years ago to pursue his dream of becoming an elite competitor in biathlon, has had to overcome. Since 2016, he has battled physical ailments such as tonsilitis and the norovirus and most worryingly of all a heart problem which caused his heart rate to shoot up to 200 beats per minute mid-race, despite the fact he was standing stock still. 

“I don’t like saying that I’ve been unlucky but it has been really difficult spell for me,” he said recently.“The heart thing really set me back. It’s the second time it’s happened but it’s not too worrying because I’ve been told that I have a very healthy heart apart from a slight blockage somewhere. I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses but it did, at points, feel like the world was against me.”

You can follow  Dixon’s progress at: https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/biathlete-olympic-dream/