You too have been
ordering a beer, or two or three, in a bar from time to time. But that
wasn’t in the newspapers the next day. Consider yourself lucky because
your name isn’t Matti Nykänen.
40 years of my life
are over and when I’m asked what the track has been like so far, I reply:
sometimes smooth, sometimes sticky. And I would add: Let’s see what the
conditions will be like in the next 40 years.
But all of the
different periods in my life have one thing in common: They have been and
still are in the public focus. Whether I was cheering in ski jumping
stadiums in Sarajevo, Calgary and Oslo or had dinner in a restaurant with
friends or had a glass of beer in a pub: Matti here, Matti there. I don’t
have a private life, but I do indeed have a bad image.
But is everything
true that is being printed in the rainbow press of my homecountry and all
over the world ? And, most importantly: Is it morally correct to tell all
those things, that have been told ? What is being written about me, partly
origins in the urge to have me in the news.
I know a few
people, among them journalists and media-people, who keep spreading the
word about me, and use to drink a little and sometimes even a little too
much as well.
I’m on the front
page, others aren’t.
The truth is: a
person in the public focus needs the media, just as the media needs him.
No media, no attention for sports, or at least no the honors for athletic
achievement. But media sometimes makes you look like a clown.
Not that I feel
like a clown. But at times things that actually happened, are shown in a
totally wrong way by journalists or even described worse than they
When I get in touch
with media people, I cannot be myself. I know that I’m being presented in
a wrong way most of the time and I gave up reading newspapers and
magazines. When I do something stupid, they report about it. When I do it
twice, they do too. And when I don’t do it a third time, they write about
it anyway, just as if something had happened.
What am I supposed
to do when only bad news are good news, when it’s “business as usual” ?
I can’t remember
when I did my first interview in the world cup. And in the 80ies I didn’t
have a really good relationship with the press. To me their questions were
not creative and nothing but bothering me: “What do you feel like before a
jump ? After a jump ? What do you think about this or that victory ?”
The same pointless
bla-bla all the time. My will to communicate was very limited. I wasn’t
able to find a good, healthy way to deal with media and TV-stations and
take advantage of it.
The only thing I
wanted was jumping, jumping, jumping. My daily schedule consisted of
training, eating and sleeping. Anything else didn’t matter to me – but it
should have. I was more open and outgoing than other athletes on the
finnish national team that followed, but I missed a manager or press
spokesman, who could have organized interviews or events for me. There’s a
profession like that today, but there was none at that time.