This is richer than the stickiest of the icky out there in B.C.: One-time Canadian Olympic snowboarding champ Ross Rebagliati is suing for defamation, saying the producers of the new CTV prime-time soap Whistler are "misappropriating his identity for a fictional character who dies under unsavory circumstances." The character is a blond, former Olympic gold-medal snowboarder.
At the risk of being knee-jerk, what a load of rubbish. You might remember Rebagliati as the guy who won the first Olympic gold in snowboarding in '98 and then became a late-night talk show punchline when he subsequently tested positive for marijuana, but kept his medal after the Canadian Olympic pooh-bahs kicked up a big fuss. He's largely been out of the public eye ever since and at the risk of playing shoot-the-messenger, this fairly reeks of publicity-mongering.
The producers have fired back with a plausible denial: "Like the rest of Whistler’s fascinating ensemble of characters, Beck McKaye sprang from the wonderfully creative mind of Kelly Senecal, the series creator. "
That's rubbish too. As if it takes a "wonderfully creative" mind to conceive of a substance-abusing snowboarder. (Or should that be the other way around ... snowboarding substance-abuser?)
Take heart, Ross.... it's a Canadian TV show, so your embarrassment will last only for ... what, five, maybe six weeks?
Here's a modest suggestion for an out-of-court settlement: Give Rebagliati a guest spot on the show and a voucher that allows him to raid 7-Eleven whenever he wants.
Besides, if all else fails he can change his name to Max Power.
He's the one with the name you'd love to touch.... but you mustn't touch.... His name sounds good in your ear.... but you mustn't fear.... because his name can be said by anyone.
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