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    Saturday, February 14, 1998

    Rebagliati disgraces medal

    BY EARL McRAE -- Ottawa Sun
     The tears and sympathy for Ross Rebagliati, jerk, are enough to make me puke.
     Marijuana isn't on the IOC's list of banned substances and therefore it had no right to take away his gold medal?
     Horse excrement!
     Marijuana is a mind-altering drug and it's illegal in Japan and it's illegal in Canada and it's illegal for good reason and the amount of illegal marijuana in the system of Ross Rebagliati exceeded the minimum level imposed by the internationally governing body of his own sport, snowboarding, beyond which level sanctions can be applied, and the IOC applied them; it took away his medal, and good for the IOC, and shame on the porridge-brained Canadian Olympic Association for appealing it, and on the mentally-disenfranchised Court of Arbitration for reversing the IOC's decision.
     Who gives a damn whether marijuana enhances, diminishes, or plays ring around the rosy with an athlete's performance?
     The point is, it's illegal in the country of the athlete who tested positive, it's illegal in the country showcasing this year's winter Games, the IOC has every bloody right to set its own terms of admissibility, deniability, and consequences of compliance and non-compliance on the absolutely legitimate grounds of the ideal it seeks and what the Olympics are supposed to be all about at the competitive level: Purity of mind, body, and soul; purity of image; the athlete as a role model of discipline, smart judgment, and clean living.
     That it isn't always is not for lack of IOC effort, and anyone who would seriously object to such noble goals, including dealing with such "social" drugs as marijuana, is a loser.
     The IOC had no right to pick on Ross Rebagliati because marijuana isn't officially on the IOC's list of banned "performance-enhancing" substances?
     I see.
     Well, the Ottawa Sun does not have rape, murder, robbery, assault, fraud, drug addiction, or even serial plagiarism on its list of banned experiences when hiring; the reason being the Ottawa Sun does not have such a list, period.
     But I do tend to believe the Ottawa Sun, out of concern for propriety and image, would, oh, perhaps think twice about hiring people with such experiences; and most certainly have the arbitrary right to fire anyone who messed up along aforementioned lines -- even if the violation did not affect the deliverance of the award-winning story -- without the firing being over-turned by weeping hearts.
     Marijuana should be de-criminalized because it's relatively harmless? And, after all, cigarette smoking is legal? Amazing, isn't it, that many of the same zealots screaming for the ban of cigarettes are the ones braying for legalization of marijuana.
     Mother to eight-year-old daughter: "Daddy can't drive you to Brownies tonight, sweetheart, he's drunk and drunk driving is illegal. But marijuana's okay -- just like cigarettes and driving is okay -- and when mommy gets just a little more stoned out of her head on this joint, I'll drive you to Brownies. I love you."
     Excuse me? What's that you said? Responsibility? Accountability? Maturity? Dire consequences for bad actions? Don't be naive. No one gets punished anymore.
     Ross Rebagliati swears up and down he didn't smoke pot, which is illegal under the law of the land, just inhaled the smoke of the pot that's illegal under the law of the land, and which was being smoked by his friends whom he knew were breaking the law of the land, but did they care and did Rebagliati care? Nope. Screw the law of the land.
     As for me, I don't believe Rebagliati's "second-hand" smoke defence. I'm with those medical doctors, greater drug experts than Rebagliati, who also don't.
     The Olympic Gold Medal has a far longer and more honorable history than one Ross Rebagliati, shameless yobbo in a joke "sport," and Ross Rebagliati -- not a lawbreaker, he says, but a knowing consort of lawbreakers -- should have his medal stripped to save the medal, not him, from the humiliation of hanging around his undeserving neck.