15 years at the top
Since 1996, Adam Malysz has won 38 World Cup victories, making his name at the world’s greatest ski jumping competitions: the World Championships four times, the World Cup four times and the Four Hills tournament in 2001.
The magician beaten by Harry Potter
Born in Wisla in Poland, where he still lives, Adam Malysz has competed in four editions of the Olympic Games. In 1998, he achieved his best result in the team competition, placing eighth. In 2002 in Salt Lake City, Malysz “the magician” was one of the favourites. Having won 11 competitions the year before, he was the World Cup holder and world champion on the normal hill.
Sven Hannavald looked likely to be his biggest rival, as the German had won all four events in the Four Hills tournament (Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany, and Innsbruck and Bischofshofen in Austria) at the start of 2002. Nobody had ever achieved this before. In the normal hill event, both men were beaten by the Swiss, Simon Ammann, who had come from nowhere to take the gold. Malysz finally finished third. In the big hill competition, the Pole was at the top of his game, finishing second behind an untouchable Ammann, who was quickly nicknamed “Harry Potter”.
Thanks to his repeated achievements, Adam Malysz turned ski jumping into a national sport in his country. The jumping competitions held at Zakopane attracted thousands of spectators, who came to cheer on their champion. At the 2006 Games in Turin, the “magician” was missing that certain something enabling him to fly further than the others, and although producing a creditable performance, did not achieve a podium finish.
Despite keeping a lower profile during the following seasons, the Pole continued to rank among the world’s top ski jumpers. In Vancouver for the 2010 Games, Adam Malysz demonstrated his experience of the top events. With his regular performance, there was just one extraterrestrial who could beat him: Simon Ammann again! Adam Malysz won two more silver medals, bringing his total to four Olympic medals. The man with the most famous moustache on the circuit is also one of his compatriots’ favourite athletes.