Article by Bobby Hristova, Growth Op
When Ross Rebagliati became the first athlete to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal in 1998, his dream spiralled into a nightmare — the International Olympic Committee stripped him of his prize after he tested positive for cannabis.
The ruling was quickly overturned, but at the time, the Canadian felt alone.
“I was left on the curb by the end of the whole thing. I had to fend for myself,” he said in a phone interview, adding that his sport was relatively new at the time.
In the 1990s, with marijuana still very much an illicit drug, Rebagliati said he used cannabis to help him get through the monotonous training he needed to succeed and give him insight into his training.
“I got caught up in the stereotype and stigma around cannabis and now that it’s sort of dissipating, athletes that find themselves in a retirement situation can talk openly and freely about the benefits of cannabis,” he said.
Finally, Rebagliati has become the resource he yearned for 21 years ago.
The Olympian and founder of two cannabis brands, Ross’ Gold and Legacy, joined a panel in Toronto on Nov. 14, to discuss retirement and how the marijuana business can improve their lives.
Other athletes on the panel included former NHL stars Ryan VandenBussche and Riley Cote, as well as champion boxers Cody Crowley and Nathan “The Timber Wolf” Millier — all of whom have ties to the cannabis industry.
“We need marketing, all kinds of things, so if you have an interest outside of sports, usually there’s a way you can entertain that within the cannabis industry,” Rebagliati said.