By Derek Beres
The introduction of a new Olympic sport is a big deal. When snowboarding was introduced at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, the professional Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati was ecstatic to win the first gold medal in his sport. But the victory seemed short-lived.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped Rebagliati of his goldwhen 17.8 nanograms of marijuana were discovered in his blood. In another twist, the IOC returned Rebagliati’s gold medal when it realized marijuana wasn’t on its list of banned substances.
There began a contentious argument about marijuana’s place in the Olympics. While the Olympics committee added marijuana to its list of banned substances in 1999—the same year the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was created to address growing concerns over illicit substances use at the Olympic Games—Rebagliati claimed his positive test resulted from second-hand smoke.
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