The Olympic Village and Weed? Pot Culture in Sochi, Russia and a Brief Look at The IOC and dope:
Whether it’s Bob Costa’s creepy, blood-shot red eyes, or US freeskier athlete, Torin Yater-Wallace, tweeting out a photo of him carrying a tray of ten Quarter Pounders while squinting heavily along with the text “Luh me mac D’s who in the mountain village needs some, I’m about to be the supplier” we often wonder what’s really happening behind the scenes at that perennial, international traveling party pavilion otherwise known as the Olympic Village?
All joking aside, and yes, we’re sorry for Bob’s unfortunate eye infection, the history of the Olympics in relation to pot is an interesting one as well as the story being the well-known pot growing culture in Sochi itself. The Sochi area has long been a more well-off and liberally minded area culturally, as compared to the rest of Mother Russia, at least since the 1970s when more artistically and liberally leaning hippy culture started seeping in from the West. With a warmer, sub-tropical climate, pot growing has long been carried out in the area on a large scale, even becoming an industrial activity in certain villages.
The Olympics and pot first went their separate ways after the infamous 1998 incident when Canadian Ross Rebagliatti who one the first ever gold medal for snowboarding, tested positive for marijuana during a post race urine test. Ross fought the ruling and eventually got back his gold medal status on the grounds that he had inadvertently taken in some “second hand smoke,” not to mention the fact that cannabis wasn’t even technically listed on the IOC’s list of “banned substances” at that time. The IOC solved that little problem quickly enough by amending the list 3 months later as a direct result of the Rebagliatti ruckus. Oh, and btw Ross is now busy in Canada opening up a pot dispensary which will offer his own, specialized strain of cannabis, “Ross’ Gold.” (Pun definitely intended).
Since ’98 the IOC has been running a pretty tight ship in the Olympic Villages. It’s not clear what the athletes are now doing to kick back and relax after they are finished with being in the competing line-ups, but it’s pretty certain that all medaling and currently “on deck” athletes in competitions are not lighting up if they have any inkling common sense. The IOC reserves the right to administer spot check tests at any time prior to or following any event. In 2012, US Judoka athlete, Nick Delpopoloa, found out the hard way when he was yanked from 2012 London Summer Olympics for testing postive on marijuana. He claimed he ate it “accidentally.” In this year’s 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Canadian women’s skiing slopestyle athlete, Kaya Turski was almost immediately yanked away from her teammates into a drug test by the IOC officials following her now infamous spill on the slopes, and even if she didn’t take a medal, she at least had some vindication in passing that test with flying colors.