Before Michael Phelps’s infamous bong rip was captured on a camera phone at a party, weed was already causing controversy in the Olympic circle, thanks to the 1998 winner of the first gold medal for snowboarding ever, Ross Rebagliati.
When the Olympics finally succumbed to include snowboarding as a winter sport, the national attention of naysayers and game-changers alike was on the first-ever competition, and Canadian 27-year-old Ross Rebagliati was the man to watch. He was a literal golden boy with a huge grin, great hair, and likeable, polite demeanor. (I mean, he is Canadian.) However, after bagging the gold medal and cementing his place in Olympic history, his drug test came up positive for cannabis, and his medal was revoked.
Rebagliati appealed the decision multiple times, and it was eventually reversed due to the fact that cannabis wasn’t actually on the list of banned substances. (It is now.) Unfortunately, the damage to his reputation had been done, and his place in history as the first person to win an Olympic Gold in snowboarding was usurped by his media-assigned enigma as the stoner snowboard kid who lost his medal for drug use.
Today, Rebagliati still practices many outdoor sports (his current passion is ironically skiing), but he does so while openly talking about his reliance on cannabis and how much it benefits him as an athlete. In January 2013, he launched his own medical marijuana brand, Ross’ Gold, and as you can see in the video below, the man is living, smoking, skiing proof that cannabis can be an extremely effective medicine for certain cases.
Watch the episode “FUEL” from VICE’s Munchies, and tell me this isn’t one of the most likeable guys in the industry you’ve seen yet. With advocates practicing what they preach like Rebagliati, the future is looking golden.