Drugs scandal snowboarder signs first endorsement

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Canadian clothing marketer Roots has a new cele brity athlete in Ross Rebagliati, the gold medal snowboarder who was recently at the center of an Olympic drug scandal.

It's the first endorsement deal for Canadian Rebagliati, who was stripped of his medal after testing positive for traces of marijuana during the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. His victory and medal were restored after an appeal.

Roots is taking its line of Canadian Olympic wear to the U.S. and international markets and Mr. Rebagliati, 26, is expected to quickly appear in print and point-of purchase advertising. Creative is handled in-house.

"We're working harder than we've ever worked before," spokesman Raymond Perkins says of expansion plans this year.

Roots has annual sales of more than $100 million from its 130 stores in Canada, the U.S., Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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