’98 Olympic Gold Medalist Ross Rebagliati Swears by Weed
“Your body is made for cannabinoids.” – Ross Rebagliati
Ross Rebagliati swears by weed. It is his life force. And while the herb has undergone a massive transformation in the public eye as of late, lifting the oppressive reputation and weight of what is effectively a global prohibition on the “drug,” the Olympic committee and many people the world over initially rebuked the golden boy from Canada.
The 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics snowboarder — the first snowboarder to EVER receive an Olympic gold medal — ascended the podium for his performance but rose to international infamy due to his penchant for pot. The anxiety of a day-long interrogation in Japan as well as consideration by the IOC to strip him of his medal gave him doubts and made him wonder whether or not he should give up marijuana. And though the committee eventually realized that marijuana was not on the list of banned substances and he was able to keep his prize, his headaches only continued when he left Japan.
Prejudice followed the champion back. One situation included a very concentrated prejudice from his country’s neighbor to the south: “Since ’98, I have had problems getting into the United States.” In fact, there was a rather public proclamation made on behalf of the U.S. when papers claimed that in order for him to attend the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, he would need to provide border patrol with a note from his doctor stating that Ross tested clean in order to cross.
However, he didn’t let a scrutinizing swath of headlines steer him off course. In contrast to his international infamy, he received a hero’s welcome upon returning to his home in Whistler. And that encouragement motivated him to quickly realign an advocate. It has been vapes and edibles since. He even turned all that attention into an entrepreneurial opportunity by opening Ross’ Gold, a one-stop shop that shills everything from high-grade strains to pipes and bongs.
While there are definitely an annoying constituency of green thumbs in the action sports/outdoor lifestyle community, Ross is one lovable enthusiast. Reminds me of family and friends who also swear by weed, from Ironman athletes to biochemists. The ones who are far from “stoner” status in the traditional societal sense of the word (read: lazy and slow). Those that avoid stumbling into the whole “braaaaaaaaahhh” and “huuuuuuhhh?” routine.
How regularly does Ross ingest? Literally day-in and day-out. He smokes when he wakes up to loosen his muscles and give him an appetite, or as he refers to it again and again, the munchies. Ross never had much of an appetite, and doesn’t have much of one these days either, so in order to maintain energy and blood-sugar levels, he needs to vape and employ a weed-laced honey in his coffee to get that appetite going. He then smokes casually throughout the day to not only keep his appetite returning, but to address lingering pain from injuries to your normal wear and tear. Comes in handy for the mountain man who is constantly training for skiing/snowboarding and mountain biking/cycling.
I, like The Inertia Mountain Contributing Editor Nate Deschenes, don’t smoke anymore. Yet, like him, I used to. And I smoked a lot before snowboarding, enjoying it the same. Yet there came a time and place when smoking (or by whatever means I was ingesting it) no longer made sense for me. Ross Rebagliati is one of the people it does make sense for. And there is no criticizing him for that.