Mateusz Rutkowski was the great hope of ski jumping, he was often referred to as the successor to the legendary Adam Malysz. But the native of the village of Skrzypne never lived up to expectations in the senior category. He became famous for his disciplinary and alcohol problems.
Twenty years ago, however, he seemed to have a bright future ahead of him. In 2004, he became the very first Pole to become world junior champion in Norway and in the same year, as the third representative of his country in history, he flew over the 200 meter mark in Planica.
The media sang odes to him. But he was quickly kicked out of the national team after being caught drunk driving. In the end, his best performance among seniors was a 15th place at the World Cup in Zakopane.
𝐍𝐢cie żydợcie 𝐌𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐮𝐬𝐶 𝐑𝐮𝐭𝐤𝐨𝐰𝐬𝐤𝐢
Sad news has reached us: at the age of 37, Mateusz Rutkowski, former representative of Poland in Narciarskich, junior world champion of 2004, has died.
Polski Związek Narciarski offers his condolences and wishes to thank… pic.twitter.com/OacIWUId0r
– Polski Związek Narciarski (@pzn_pl) January 7, 2024
His brother Lukasz, who represented Poland at the Vancouver Olympics and the Liberec World Championships, ultimately had a better career. “Dear brother,” Lukasz briefly said goodbye to his late brother on Instagram, where he posted a black-and-white photo of himself with a mourning ribbon.
Mateusz Rutkowski already ended his career in 2007. Since then, he has only spoken to the media sporadically, and since 2015, not at all. He earned his living through manual labor. According to the server Sport.pl, he paved the sidewalks.
“It's terrible that he is gone. He ended his career prematurely, went to work and died today at just 37 years old. This is shocking news. I have one positive memory from him,” former president of the Polish Ski Association Apoloniusz Tajner told the Polsat station.
“Extreme gamer. Food geek. Internet buff. Alcohol expert. Passionate music specialist. Beeraholic. Incurable coffee fan.”