A meeting with gold

DOC POW, SnowSeekers Inc.

One of the best things about travel is you never know what or who is around the corner. That sentiment couldn’t ring stronger than here in Whistler at the Olympics. At a media reception tonight at the Whistler Media Centre – one of the epicenters for the world’s media in Whistler Village – I was in mid-sentence when I turned around and said, “Hey that is Ross Rebagliati.”
It took seconds for me to make my move to get in a chat.
For those of you who need a refresher, back in 1998 at the Nagano Olympics Rebagliati won an Olympic first – gold in snowboarding, only to have it stripped after a drug test, which tested positive for marijuana.
Rebagliati was taken into an interrogation room where IOC representatives from around the world grilled him – an 18 year resident of Whistler – about the lifestyle that he was a part of.
At the time, snowboarding was a demonstration event at Nagano and there were a lot of misconceptions about the sport and the people.
Anyway, the decision was quickly overturned and the IOC reversed its decision, re-awarding Rebagliati his medal.
Within days, he was back in the village here in Whistler.
Being in the crowd that February in 1998, I can tell you the atmosphere was almost exactly like last night’s as Canadian athletes took to the stage during the opening ceremony festivities. 
It was pretty sweet – 65 athletes who couldn’t make it down to Vancouver for last night’s opening ceremonies paraded through Whistler before a crowd of about 25,000 strong. Mike Janyk, Canadian Men’s Slalom athlete and Whistler resident, took the mic for a bit to speak about the support he receives from the community. Something Rebagliati talks about as well.
“This community is fantastic. They’ve even named a park and a run after me. Whistler is this incredible place that never disappoints its own.”
Stay tuned for more unexpected experiences – word is we may even be out snowboarding with Rebagliati later in the week.

Stay tuned to www.snowseekers.ca/olympicnews for daily blogs, videos and more throughout the Olympics.

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