Snowboarding is a sport at the Winter Olympic Games. It was first included in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Snowboarding was one of five new sports or disciplines added to the Winter Olympic program between 1992 and 2002, and was the only one not to have been a previous medal or demonstration event. In 1998, four events, two for men and two for women, were held in two specialities: the giant slalom, a downhill event similar to giant slalom skiing; and the half-pipe, in which competitors perform tricks while going from one side of a semi-circular ditch to the other.Canadian Ross Rebagliati won the men’s giant slalom and became the first athlete to win a gold medal in snowboarding. Rebagliati was briefly stripped of his medal by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after testing positive for marijuana. However, the IOC’s decision was reverted following an appeal from the Canadian Olympic Association. For the 2002 Winter Olympics, giant slalom was expanded to add head-to-head racing and was renamed parallel giant slalom.In 2006, a third event, the snowboard cross, was held for the first time. In this event, competitors race against each other down a course with jumps, beams and other obstacles. On July 11, 2011, the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board approved the addition of Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle to the Winter Olympics roster of events, effective in 2014. The decision was announced via press conference from the IOC’s meeting in Durban, South Africa. A fifth event, parallel slalom, will be contested starting in 2014.
Six athletes have won two medals. Philipp Schoch of Switzerland, Shaun White and Seth Wescott of the United States are the only double gold medalists.Karine Ruby of France and Americans Ross Powers and Danny Kass also won two medals. In the men’s half-pipe event, American snowboarders have collected six of nine possible medals, achieving a unique medal sweep in 2002. The United States won a total of 22 medals, more than any other nation. The Americans and the Swiss collected five gold medals each. As of the 2006 Winter Olympics, 42 medals (14 of each color) have been awarded since 1998, and have been won by 38 snowboarders from 11 National Olympic Committees.