The sports website SB Nation ran a robust sports and weed package a couple of weeks ago and it’s worth checking out.
One of the more interesting stories revolves around snowboarder Madison Blackley. Snowboarding was born from the counter culture of the ’60s and ’70s, and the sport has carried an association with marijuana throughout its existence.
When snowboarding was recognized as an Olympic sport for the first time at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, it wasn’t shocking that men’s snowboarding gold medalist Ross Rebagliati tested positive for marijuana. Instead, it was a lighthearted joke, one told knowingly tongue-in-cheek. Rebagliati is now recognized as a cannabis trailblazer and even owns his own cannabis company now called Ross’ Gold. (You get it, right?)
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As Blackley revealed to SB Nation, that playful association hasn’t exactly carried over to women’s snowboarding. Even though 17-year-old Chloe Kim won the gold medal in Pyeonchang this year, becoming an overnight star, women snowboarders still face double standards their male counterparts do not. An association with marijuana, like Blackley has, is just one of them.
“I know many men who are almost praised for it by their sponsors, and their sponsors have embraced it about them, and almost used it to benefit their image,” Blackley told SB Nation. “I honestly can’t say whether it would be the same if I were a guy because just being a female in general hinders a snowboarder’s career.”
Despite living in an age where former professional athletes have become cannabis advocates and starting their own marijuana wellness brands, currently active athletes can still face stigmas.
In my own career personally I believe it has hindered me, although maybe not substantially. I have throughout my career always been outspoken about weed and CBD because I personally don’t see the issue with it, and it is part of what I like to do. Plus there are medical benefits that help me as an athlete. […]
I also think a lot of the stigma has to do with where you live. Colorado and Oregon have way different mentalities than the state that I live in, Utah, which is probably the biggest factor.
Blackley also touted CBD’s ability to assist in recovery and marijuana’s overall ability to shift her ways of thinking in the interview. She also believes these stigmas will change as cannabis becomes more mainstream. Of course you can’t change everyone’s opinions.
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“I mean there will always be those people that think snowboarders are just pot-smoking bums,” Blackley said. “But there are also plenty of successful athletes who don’t use at all, but they probably still go drink and party.”