For an Olympic athlete, getting high is off the training table. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), testing positive for cannabis is a violation to the “spirit of sport.”
Team USA’s #1 Judo Olympian, Nicholas Dipopolo, was knocked out of the 2012 Summer games because of a positive test. The same year, Team USA’s #1 women's wrestler, Stephanie Lee, screened dirty. If WADA fails to out you with a drug test, the new-age paparazzi will film you in the act. Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps was caught on camera hitting a massive bong-load at a party in South Carolina. He blamed his actions on being “young and stupid.”
These American Olympians are all amazing athletes making legitimate excuses to save their potential chances at gold -- gold at the Olympics and gold in potential endorsements.
It is just too taboo to admit you use it because you like it or use it to relax. Coming out of the “pot closet” will jeopardize your marketability. In August 2013, HIGH TIMES featured a story about Ross Rebagliati. In 1998, Snowboarding became an Olympic sport and Rebagliati was the first to win gold. After testing positive for cannabis, he was almost stripped of his medal. Rebagliati argued that his nanogram count was low enough to be considered inhaled as second-hand smoke. Plus at that time, cannabis was yet to be officially banned by the Olympics. Rebagliati was able to keep his gold medal and his sponsors. Coincidentally, the International Olympic Committee created WADA the very next year.
Rebagliati makes no excuses for his use of cannabis today. He now owns and operates a medical marijuana dispensary in British Columbia, Canada. He proudly announces that he is “out of the pot closet.” Even though he was apprehensive at first, he has since run for office in Canada and started his own business. With that liberation, he also enjoys the freedom to smoke-eat-absorb cannabis with less persecution from outside the “pot closet.”
Rebagliati's Olympic career is over. He does not have to worry about keeping an image for his sponsors or having to possess acute mental focus dedicated to a given sport. He is more fortunate than someone in his prime as an Olympic athlete today. Besides public perception, Olympians have enough on their minds in Sochi, Russia. Let me get out my checklist so I don't forget:
#1 DON'T DRINK THE WATER. Legendary NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas had to bow-out after getting a severely infectious case of pink-eye. He washed his face when he arrived in Sochi. Plus, it can develop a yellow hue.
#2 DON'T TAKE A SHOWER. (See #1 for the pink-eye story) Some believe there are cameras in the showers.
#3 DON'T BE GAY. The Sochi mayor has warned homosexuals: “It is not accepted here in the Caucasus.” No one knows what this could mean for figure skating this winter.
#4 DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR DOG. Sochi hired a company to eliminate dogs to avoid any incident. Ironically, a cat fell through the ceiling of an Olympic arena. That darn cat!
#5 DON'T CRITICIZE PUTIN for spending $51 billion on the games (funneled through his Russian cronies' personal businesses, but you didn't hear that from me). Plus, don't ask Putin to give his people freedom of speech, assembly, or association. The punk band Pussy Riot tried to speak, their attempt was short-lived. They were maced then whipped.
#6 DON'T LOSE YOUR LUGGAGE. The Jamaican bobsled team didn't get their bobsled equipment until a day after everyone was training. When they did, someone had dumped their protein mix in their helmets. Not so Cool Runnings!
#7 WATCH OUT FOR TERRORISTS. Numerous reports are quoted saying, “terrorist attack imminent.”
#8 DON'T DROP A DUECE. Unless you are super friendly, but not in a gay way, no walls exist in the bathroom stalls. By the way, the lack of shower curtains has created a Sochi shower curtain black market.
#9 DON'T EXPECT TO HAVE YOUR SPORT'S COURSE UP TO SPECS. They fixed and modified many event's hills, snow, or sometimes the length. Also, a man inspecting the Sochi bobsled track was struck by a test sled.
#10 DON'T SMOKE ANY GREEN? Actually, Russians have gone through a pot revolution themselves somewhat like Americans. Yes, they still love their vodka, but it is hard to find a 20-year-old Russian who hasn't tried konoplya (Russian for weed). It is illegal, and possessing more than five grams can get you three years. However, most Russian authorities are known to look the other way or take a bribe rather than hassle with booking you, thus, giving Russian marijuana the tag of “illegal but decriminalized” -- the same tag given to the Netherlands and Jamaica.
Even with all of these other critiques of society, Russia maintains a nonchalant attitude toward cannabis use (as long as you are buying from the Russian government's weed-man). Meanwhile, the Olympics and Olympic sponsors fear you are violating the “spirit of sport” and are killing your image by getting high anytime for any reason. It is also a shame these athletes can't enjoy cannabis because they'd like to, just as other athletes enjoy a beer now and then.
Therefore, add it to the list: #10: NO USING CANNABIS ANYTIME IN YOUR LIFE IF YOU ARE AN OLYMPIC ATHLETE. Sorry snowboarders and Jamaican bobsled team. You will have to wait a bit longer to leave the “pot closet.” Ross Rebagliati reminds us that “cannabis is not a performance enhancing drug. The idea of a list of banned substances is to maintain a level playing field. Adding [cannabis to the list] is really opening up a social can of worms.”
If these athletes have to live in the “pot closet,” don't let your drug tests bring them out. The only thing you will be proving is which Olympic athlete will not get their picture on a cereal box. C'mon Olympics, that's the least you can do. I mean, you did give the games to Vladimir Putin this year. If he is cool with it, you should be too.