(photo: Art Wolfe)
Thursday, Feb. 12, 1998
Tribunal Overturns IOC Ruling
While he can't win back the initial glory, Canadian Snowboard GS Gold Medal Winner Ross Rebagliati will, at least, be included in the history books. In a surprising reversal of the International Olympic Committee's ruling, an international arbitration board voted today to give back Ross's medal.
The ruling came from the International Olympic Committee's Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which decided there was no legal basis for the disqualification.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had voted yesterday to strip Rebagliati of the Gold medal he won Sunday after traces of marijuana were found in his system during post-race drug testing.
There are no official IOC "doping" rules concerning marijuana. Instead, the testing for marijuana is an International Ski Federation (FIS) rule which sets a 15 nanogram limit.
Sanctions would only have been allowable if there was an official agreement between FIS, the governing body of both skiing and snowboarding, and the IOC. The IOC will have to now clarify its anti-doping rules and determine to which disciplines they apply.
Canada immediately appealed the IOC's disqualification vote. Rebagliati said then he had not smoked pot since April and the levels found were due to second hand smoke inhalation. Rebagliati lives in the mountain town of Whistler, BC, Canada.
CAS is an independent panel of three set up by the IOC to prevent disputes from winding up in court. All athletes, upon entrance to the Games agree to the use of the panel. A five member panel at the Atlanta Games decided for the athletes on five occasions.
Police, due to Japan's strict drug laws, were questioning Rebagliati when he learned of the decision.