Ski jumping and alcohol [part 2]

Author: Julia Borowczyk, Published:

Team Finland haven’t been succesful for a few years now. In the past there were a few athletes there who had problems with alcohol.

In the first part [HERE] you can read about Polish athletes who had problems with alcohol.


Being a successful athlete, Matti Nykaenen’s life wasn’t as trouble free as people might have thought. He started drinking while he was still a top athlete. Already in 1986 he was stealing alcohol and cigarettes from shops and was punished with a fine.

The champion could beat records, win almost every competition but his other personality started to show up more and more. His performance was billowy and his life wasn’t balanced.

Fights, several ex-wives, judgments – alcohol mixed with ADHD Syndrome had a destructive force. His life is full of chaos – gold medals and fight with himself.

In 2009 he wanted to kill his wife with a knive while being drunk. Mervi Tapola survived by running away to the neighbours.

After his career ended it was even worse, he had no idea what to do. He decided to sell his medals to get money for alcohol and wasn’t able to say stop.

He tried to find something to do in life after ski jumping. He started to sing, wrote a cookbook and worked as a stripteaser.

In his autobiography we can read about his incidents with his ex-wives and his problems with alcohol. He admits there that he was getting drunk already at age of 14. He speak also openly about the fact that while being an active ski jumper he could have every girl he wanted and then he also admits that he became even more violent while being surrounded by women.

Matti Nykaenen died on 3rd February 2019.


Janne Ahonen is one of the most succesful ski jumpers in history but he also had some troubles due to alcohol.

The Finnish athlete was about to set the new world record in 2005 in Planica but he fell. As we got to know later, he was drunk while making this jump. After the fall, he refused going for any hospital check because he was worried that someone will find out how many per mille he has in his blood.

„I remember when the medical staff came I tried to run away. I refused going to the hospital because I was afraid of blood test. I didn’t want everyone to know how many per milles I had in my blood. I felt very stupid” – wrote Janne Ahonen in his autobiography.

He says also how he felt before that jump. ,,I felt very bad, I was sad. Due to my hangover I wasn’t able to focus.”


Harri Olli is another athlete who couldn’t say no to parties and alcohol. He was a huge talent who ruined his career due to scandals.

He was driving drunk and also while being drunk he climbed the hill in Oberstdorf at the World Championships. At the 2008 World Championships he was missing from his hotel room while spending the night with prostitutes. He took part in the competition but after that he was thrown out of the team. He had to fly home earlier and decided to take some drinks on the plane.

Then later there was a situation in a pub where he had an argument with his fiancee and hit her head with a glass of beer. He had troubles with aggression too and this incident was the perfect proof.

During the 2008 Summer Grand Prix he hosted a huge party. Thanks to that he was late from the bus which was driving the athletes to Courchevel. He was hungover after a long night but still was able to win the competition ahead of Georg Spaeth and Simon Ammann.

The former headcoach of Finland, Pekka Niemela, said that Harri Olli could have been one of the best athletes if he would have been able to focus more on ski jumping.

He wanted to come back to ski jumping but this attempt turned out to be unsuccessful. Harri Olli was kicked out of the team three times. He ended his career in 2011.

source: ,,Pozdrowienia z piekła”,,,Królewski Orzeł”,,,