When Minnesota born John Baxter first discovered he would never grow beyond 4 feet, it would have been tempting for many in his position to throw in the towel. One would have forgiven him for believing his dream of becoming a world class olympic athlete had been cruelly extinguished by his vertically-challenged fate.
But the feisty dwarf was not to be deterred. With the steely determination of a very small but determined tiger - often training up to 10 hours a day - Baxter, standing at just 3ft 9 inches has gone out and broken 7 track and field world records over a whirlwind two month period of sheer athletic brilliance. The fact that some of these records were by some thought to be unsurpassable, makes his achievement all the more astounding.
It all started 2 months ago on a chilly night in Brussels. Baxter, an complete unknown quantity at this point, blew away a world class field including then world record holder, Jamaican Asafa Powell, finishing in the extraordinary record time of 9.72 seconds. Powell's record had stood at 9.77. It was the biggest reduction of a 100m world record since Jesse Owen's took .34 secs of Adolf Hitler's time in 1938.
It didn't end there. Later that same night, Baxter three fifths the height of his rivals, became not only the first dwarf, but the first man in history to clear 9 feet for the long jump. The Brussels crowd were aghast. All agreed it was an incredible night, a night upon which Baxter became the toast of the athletics world.
Former long jump record holder, Mike Powell, remembered how, watching on television, he couldn't believe what the hell was happening with this unbelievably gifted dwarf.
Powell recalled "I felt numb. I thought my record would never be broken. But then along comes this freaky little dwarf and smashes it to fucking smithereens. He's gotta be on something. Heck, I was".
That evening a confident Baxter predicted to the world that more records would soon be "falling by the wayside".
Sure enough three weeks later in Oslo, Baxter, still just 3 ft 9 inches tall, competed in the 200m again trouncing the field to record an astonishing world record time of 18.99 seconds, shaving a massive .64 seconds off the supposedly superhuman time set by Michael Johnson at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
In his reaction, a gracious Johnson said, "That little midget is amazing. If anyone broke my record, I'm glad it was him. He's a credit to all little midgets on this fair planet of ours".
Baxter's thirst to gain legendary status did not end that night in Oslo. Since then he has added the 400m, 800m, 1500m, and High Jump world record to his increasingly impressive cv.
The 1500m's record is perhaps the most astounding of Baxter's wonderful achievements. Understandably categorised as a "sprint specialist" , few would have thought Baxter could make the transition from the power burst nature of sprints to the gruelling plod of middle distance running.
"Some people in the crowd were heard to mutter, "How the fuck can a dwarf be so goddamn fast?".
Against a world class 1500m field last week in Monte Carlo, nobody gave Baxter a chance to win the race let alone break Hicham El Guerrouj's long standing record. Baxter, however, led from the front quickly breaking clear of the supposed "pace-makers". He went on to lap the entire field, crossing the line at a canter and taking an astonishing 55.32 seconds off El Guerrouj's 1998 time.
As Baxter crossed the line an eerie air of both adulation and disbelief descended upon the stadium. Some people in the crowd were heard to mutter, "How the fuck can a dwarf be so goddamn fast?".
Many of his startled competitors stopped running when they saw the time on the big screen to go up to congratulate Baxter.
The sight of world class athletes crouching down to shake the hand of one exceptionally talented dwarf warmed the hearts of million watching at home. The stadium gave Baxter a warm standing ovation lasting over ten minutes. At that very moment, many in the stadium wished they were, like Baxter, a very talented dwarf.
"Baxter himself has admitted he would some day like to run a different type of race - the presidential one".
Baxter's extraordinary track endeavours have made him a millionaire many times over. As well as a multi million dollar deal with manufacturing giants Nike, he also stars in promotions for AODA (Association Of Dwarves America), a burgeoning organistion that, on the back of Baxter's exploits, are pushing for the first ever Dwarf president of the USA. Baxter himself has admitted he would some day like to run a different type of race - the presidential one. Given his steely prowess on the track, few would dare back against him sitting in the Oval office sometime in the future. George W Bush said he would "welcome the challenge of the little people".
It is hardly surprising that little Baxter's undeniably sexy atleticism and determination has been wooing an illustrious set of celebrity beauties. Speculation on Baxter's latest flame points to former Bond girl, Halle Berry. Eye Witnesses allege they saw Berry and little Baxter "canoodling" on a secluded beach near LA.
Baxter, who wed Helena Bonham Carter only three months ago, has stringently denied a relationship exists between himself and Berry claiming that "me an Halle are just good friends". Berry has declined to comment.
Back on the track, observers have identified a potential dilemma for Baxter in the forthcoming Olympics. Due to timetable complications, Baxter will be unable to compete in many of the events in which he holds records in the forthcoming Olympics. Will this hinder his quest to attain absolute legendary status by preventing an unprecedented haul of gold medals?
He seems unbothered. "I'm sure I'll find a way. If I have to do the high jump and the 1500m simultaneously I will. I'm confident I can build up a sufficient lead to allow me to perform my jumps mid race and still come out in the lead of the 1500".
Strong claims indeed, but who, I ask, would doubt them?