Rebagliati Stripped of Gold


Marijuana found in his blood system, an athlete from Canada was stripped of his gold medal and sent home Tuesday from the Winter Olympics.

Canadian Olympic Committee officials planned to appeal the disqualification of Ross Rebagliati, 26, of Whistler, Canada, who took first place Sunday in men’s giant slalom snowboarding.

The COC was notified that metabolized marijuana was detected in an “A” blood sample, then confirmed by a “B” sample that found 17.8 nanograms per milliliter in Rebagliati’s blood.


There is no minimum amount of marijuana that the International Olympic Committee decrees as illegal. However, a limit of 15 nanograms is established by the International Ski Federation, to which the Canadian ski team belongs.

The vagueness of the rules regarding marijuana was partly responsible for a split vote by Olympic officials on whether to take away the Canadian’s gold medal.

A medical board voted, 13-12, to recommend sanctioning Rebagliati to the IOC, which makes the final decision. And an IOC executive council voted, 3-2, with two abstentions, according to Francois Carrard, the IOC’s director general.

According to Carrard, marijuana has been cause for discussion in the past, inasmuch as, “It could be a performance-enhancing drug, because it appeases.”

The silver medalist, Thomas Prugger of Italy, would become the champion if Rebagliati’s disqualification is upheld. A Swiss athlete, Ueli Kesteholz, would move up to silver and Austria’s Dieter Krassnig would move up to bronze.