Most of us remember when Michael Phelps, history’s most decorated Olympian, was exposed as a cannabis user in 2009. The revelation was exposed to the masses via the wide release of a candid photograph of the athlete captured at a party. Phelps was then banned by USA Swimming for a total of three months and lost at least one major sponsor, Kellogg.
But most millennials likely won’t remember an even bigger, marijuana-laced Olympic scandal.
It’s going on 20 years since Canadian Ross Rebagliati won the first ever gold medal for the sport of snowboarding. And it’s going on 20 years since he lost that medal when he tested positive for THC just after his big, historic win. But Ross Rebagliati didn’t win an Olympic gold medal by giving up everytime the going got tough. And he wasn’t going to be stripped of that gold medal without putting up a fight first.
Rebagliati disputed the test results. He steadily maintained that he had not used cannabis recently enough to affect his Olympic performance. In 1998, prior to heading to Nagano, Japan – where the games were being held that year – Rebagliati attended a celebratory gathering. At this gathering, he maintains even to this day, many of the people in close proximity to him were using cannabis, but he asserts that he wasn’t. He believes that second-hand smoke must have been what the test registered as a positive result.
And, in fact, when the test results were publicly revealed, Rebagliati’s reading of 17.8 nanograms per milliliter was just over the then Olympic regulated allowance of 15 ng/ml. He was over by just 2.8 nanograms per milliliter.
The World Anti-Doping Agency, the body in charge of global drug testing for Olympic sports, has only changed the threshold for THC within the last ten years, to a whopping 150 ng/ml. That is ten times higher than their previously set limit of 15 ng/ml.
A spokesperson for WADA, Ben Nichols, says that now they are only testing for current use.
“Our information suggests that many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption,” said Nichols. “The new threshold level is an attempt to ensure that in-competition use is detected and not use during the days and weeks before competition.”
After a successful appeal, Ross Rebagliati regained his gold medal -and a seed had been planted. He believed in cannabis and it’s medicinal values.
Today, Rebagliati has channeled that belief beyond his personal lifestyle and into a brand, cleverly named, ross’ gold. The brand currently sells pipes, water pipes, concentrate rigs and vaporizers. According to their website, the company has since been purchased by R Gold Ventures Inc.
“The company brings to the table an experienced management team that has established over 100 retail location across Canada, cannabis industry knowledge, accounting/finance, expertise in franchising and operations, marketing, and more.”
They they hope to be providing quality medicine to consumers soon, as legalization of cannabis goes into full swing in Canada.
Read more about the brand on the Ross’ Gold website and look below to watch a brilliant video, Carving on Cannabis with a Snowboard Gold Medalist by VICE food channel, Munchies.