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Regina Leader-Post: Gold-medal snowboarder settles defamation suit with CTV

Blog by | April 25th, 2008

VANCOUVER - Ross Rebagliati, who the won the first ever Olympic snowboarding gold medal, has settled his lawsuit with television network CTV.

Rebagliati launched the suit in 2006 when CTV introduced its TV show Whistler, promoted as an expose of the elite snow sports and high-living community in the resort town north of Vancouver.

The professional boarder said his website, e-mail and Facebook site were flooded by comments from people who found its central character, a blond, blue-eyed party animal with an Olympic gold medal named Beck McKaye, to be startling like Rebagliati.

Ross Rebagliati says, despites his lawsuit, he doesn't hold a grudge against CTV.

Ross Rebagliati says, despites his lawsuit, he doesn't hold a grudge against CTV.

"He lived in Whistler, he was the same height, had the same colour hair, the same haircut and wore the same red jacket with white sleeves that I wore on the podium in 1998 when I got my gold medal," Rebagliati said Thursday.

"They didn't directly connect the character to the controversy surrounding my medal but through innuendo and general stereotyping implied that he was unsavory or had brushes with the law - it was a real cheap shot."

Rebagliati had his gold medal, won at the Nagano, Japan, Games, stripped after he tested positive for marijuana. The decision was eventually overturned, and the medal given back.

CTV spokeswoman Bonnie Brownlee would say only that "the lawsuit has been settled out of court," and would not divulge any details.

Rebagliati said he doesn't hold a grudge and would even like to work for the network, which is the host broadcast TV network for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which will feature Whistler in its alpine events.

Rebagliati, who promotes real estate and runs his own Rebagliati Alpine Snowboard Training Academy - acronym RASTA - said he will be doing a TV show on snowboarding "leading up to 2010" but would really like to provide race commentary for the Olympic snowboarding events.