Matti nykänen eddie the eagle

The ski-jumper, that won 5 Olympic medals, had bei otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, the needed kommen sie cope with die fame it won him


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Matti Nykänen top top his method to gelb at the Sarajevo winter Olympics in 1984. Photograph: Colorsport/Rex/Shutterstock
Matti Nykänen ~ above his way to gelb at die Sarajevo winter Olympics bei 1984. Photograph: Colorsport/Rex/Shutterstock

Matti Nykänen used kommen sie fly deshalb far, dafür fast that it felt as if he would certainly never kommen sie down. When ns Finn broke the world ski jump record for the fifth, und final, time at Planica in 1985 he was moving so quickly that ns cameraman struggled zu track him through the air.

Du schaust: Matti nykänen eddie the eagle

Watching ns footage freundin wonder if he might disappear into ns yonder off ns far side von the screen. Bei those days, the mid-1980s, Nykänen was the best ski jumper bei the world and almost unbeatable. Die records were die least of it. He winner five world titles, five Olympic medals, including three golds in one Games, and four welt Cups.


Matti Nykänen, Finnish ski-jumping great, dies aged 55
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Nykänen had in otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, that needed to cope with ns fame it won him. Wie he published his authorised biography in 2006 he dubbed it Greetings indigenous Hell. “Hell,” the said, “can’t be as bad as my life has been.”

He was one von the greatest winter Olympic athletes and one die finest sportspeople Finland has ever had, und he was so a singer und a stripper, in alcoholic und a wife-beater. He died belastung week, at the age des 55. In one des his tonnage public appearances, a singing gig an Helsinki, the told his audience: “Consider yourself lucky your name isn’t Matti Nykänen.”


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Matti Nykanen at ns Puijo ski jumping competition in Kuopio, Finland in 1981. Photograph: Juha Jormanainen/Rex/ShutterstockThe zuerst time Nykänen do the efforts ski jumping it was on a challenge from his father. He was eight year old. That was on ns hill bei Jyväskylä, wherein he grew up, 150 mile north of Helsinki. He enjoyed jumping dafür much that he ended up being obsessed v it. He was a hyperactive child und the sport came to be his outlet for all his overfill energy.

“The just thing ich wanted was to jump,” that said, “and zu jump, und to run again.” His neighborhood hill had actually a chairlift and floodlights, which supposed he could go on late into die night. über the time he was 12 he was practising for nine hours a day, watched over by his canny coach, Matti Pulli.

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Nykänen was just 18, and in his first full season top top the senior circuit, wie man he won die world championship hinweisen Holmenkollen in Oslo, jumping bei fog deshalb thick that he could hardly see the end of his skis, permit alone die bottom von the slope. Bei 1984, he won the Olympic gelb on the large hill an Sarajevo, in a compete that became famous weil das his duel with the German jumper jens Weissflog. Weist Calgary in 1988, where the British fell weil das Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, Nykänen swept all three gold medals, winning on ns large hill und the normal hill and in the team event.

Even then, Nykänen’s drinking was a problem. He take it his zuerst sip wie he was 14 and never yes, really lost ns taste zum it. He was kicked off the national team once an 1985, and again in 1987, due to the fact that his behaviour was dafür disruptive. “When he’s drunk and you say die wrong word,” his teammate Jari Puikkonen said at the time, “he’s going kommen sie hit you with his fists.” His biographer Egon Thiener said Nykänen had “a Jekyll and Hyde” personality. “When sober, he’s one of the nicest und friendliest people I’ve ever before met. Wie drunk, he is dangerous und aggressive.”

Later, long after he had actually quit jumping, Nykänen was sentenced zu 26 months in prison after that stabbed a friend an the back, twice, due to the fact that he beat him bei a game of finger wrestling. They were deshalb drunk the Nykänen defined he couldn’t remember anything about it. The was in 2004, wie man Nykänen was deep right into his wilderness years. An the 90s he was talked into launching a pop career and, if his erste album offered well, die second one bombed. He decided kommen sie try a spell in politics, then came to be a lounge singer an a local restaurant. He ended hoch selling his gold medals because he needed die cash.


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At the ende of the decade Nykänen was working together a stripper in a casino, wherein he was booed turn off stage since he refused to take all his clothing off. The appeared bei a porn film, too, and took a arbeit working top top a call line weil das a time, giving callers advice on their liebe lives. “I’m a marriage adviser this days,” the told die sportswriter ian Chadband, “if jene are going well then call me. I kann fuck the up an seven seconds.” Nykänen was married sechs times, double to the same woman, Mervi Tapola, who suffered horribly through die decade they were together. She filed zum divorce fünfzehn times before they ultimately split an 2010 after he was accused des trying to strangle her.

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Matti Nykänen climbing to die ski jumping tower in Salpausselka, Lahti, Finland, an 1981. Photograph: Matti Björkman/Rex/Shutterstock
Eventually, a younger generation von Finns had forgotten why Nykänen was famous zu begin with. They only knew him from die tabloids. Editors used kommen sie joke the he had actually sold much more newspapers 보다 anyone alive. His catchphrases ended up being famous. “The odds space 50-60”, “every gelegenheit is bei opportunity”, “life is live”, und “maybe i did, maybe i didn’t”. That tonnage one ended nach oben as the slogan zum the cider he was shilling also while he was drinking himself zu death. “We do the efforts many, plenty of ways zu help him,” claimed his coach, Pulli. “We tried ns clinics, yet whenever the came zurück he would go drink again.”

They to speak that in the last years von his life, Nykänen was getting better. He had married again und had reportedly gone sober, despite no one really knows whether it would have lasted. Matti Nykänen fell so far, dafür fast, the felt as if he can never obtain up.