Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, April 25, 2008Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Ross Rebagliati, who claimed CTV “misappropriated his character” for its Whistler TV series, has settled a lawsuit with the television network.
Rebagliati would not discuss settlement details Thursday but said he felt vindicated by the win. He launched the suit in 2006 after CTV premiered its 13-episode drama series, which centred around the mystery surrounding the death of Canadian Olympic gold medalist Beck McKaye.
Ross RebagliatiRebagliati, who lived in Whistler during the show’s debut, had argued McKaye, who also lived in Whistler and had the same blond hair and blue eyes, was based on him and that he was being portrayed in a distasteful way.
During the show’s promos, he said, he was barraged by messages on his website, phone and e-mail from people asking if the character was based on him.
“The main point is they misappropriated my character without my permission,” Rebagliati said Thursday. “I felt it was a pretty close line that they had drawn.
“We feel we got the message across that I didn’t have anything to do with the show and it wasn’t about me. We feel it was a small victory.”
Rebagliati, who won the first Olympic gold medal awarded for snowboarding at the Nagano, Japan, Olympics in 1998, was stripped of his medal after testing positive for marijuana.
He appealed the loss and the title was reinstated.
Rebagliati now lives in Kelowna where he specializes in real estate and runs the Rebagliati Alpine Snowboard Training Academy. He said he hopes there are no hard feelings with CTV, which is the host broadcast network for the 2010 Olympic Games.
If possible, Rebagliati said, he would like to provide race commentary for the snowboarding events, which be featured at Whistler.