Ski jumping and alcohol [part 1]

Author: Julia Borowczyk, Published:
wojciech fortuna

Alcohol is a very serious problem worldwide. There are a lot of athletes who couldn’t handle the fame and were looking for alcohol as a problem solving tool. Among these athletes there were some ski jumpers as well.

In the first part of “Ski jumping and alcohol” we want to present you two Polish athletes who consumed way too much alcohol. One of them is an Olympic champion, the second one has a Junior World Champion title.


Everything started after winning the first ever Olympic gold in 1972 in Sapporo. Back then Wojciech Fortuna had already alcohol problems. Later the troubles were geting bigger and bigger. After coming back to Poland from Japan he was treated like a national hero, everyone wanted to have a photo with him, to shake hands with him and…. to drink a glass of vodka. Instead of training he was driving around Poland telling about his success.

In 1974 he went to Falun for the World Championships but as he told later: “I wasn’t thinking about any good result there. The night before the Championships I was drinking”.

Before the Olympics in 1976 one of the directors told that “Fortuna will not go to Olympics even if he jumps 120 m in Zakopane”. Those words were enough for him to end his career.

It was the end for him as an athlete. His life wasn’t going well and it was getting worse and worse. In his autobiography “Skok do piekła” he told that he was taking part in competitions while having alcohol in his blood. He tells there a lot about his life, how he was trated in prison but also about happiness after the Olympic Games in Sapporo.

He states openly that it was very hard for him to resign from alcohol due to often meetings with his colleagues who he couldn’t refuse to take a drink with.

Right now, Wojciech Fortuna lives far away from the toxic society. He lives in the area of Suwałki and doesn’t drink anymore.


He was said to be more talented than Kamil Stoch. A huge Polish talent, Mateusz Rutkowski, ruined his career due to alcohol.

As a young athlete in 2004 he became the Junior World Champion. He was supposed to be Adam Małysz’s successor but his career finished way too early.

Few weeks after his victory as a Junior World Championships his scholarship was taken away because he was celebrating his success too much.

After that he was removed from A team and then from B team too. The reason was lack of discipline and problems with keeping the right weight. In 2007 his driving licence was taken away due to drunk driving.

Mateusz Rutkowski was too young to be a star. He couldn’t handle the pressure on him. He got lost, started to drink and didn’t listen to his coach. He finished his carreer at age of 20.

Right now he works in a building company. He’s also part of a ski jumping club Rutkow-ski which was founded by his brother, Łukasz.

source: ,,Drugi skok”, ,,Skok do piekła”, TVP Sport