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Sport on the booze. How can they drink, smoke and win?

Robert Lewandowski, Iga Świątek, Hubert Hurkacz are successful because they lead a hygienic lifestyle, eat a healthy diet and don’t even think about night parties and stimulants. But there are also athletes who achieve success without such sacrifices.

Drugs and sport? In principle, not necessarily. Especially in theory, because as we know drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes is harmful and unhealthy, and an unhealthy athlete is not an athlete but a clinical case. However, practice rarely confirms theory.

So rare that it almost disproves it. I do not mean the scientific side of the issue. The destructive influence of stimulants on the human organism is documented by research, and an athlete is also a human being, only that he or she is severely enhanced, both physically and mentally.

For this reason, he should avoid anything that might weaken him. However, numerous examples show otherwise. Athletes drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and win medals. The theory of health hygiene does not seem to convince them. That is what I mean.

I can already hear the voices of indignation that, after all, not everyone does. Of course not everyone, but after years of sporting experience I know that sport and stimulants are more the norm than the exception. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Even in the case of outstanding champions.

Smoke evacuator

When I was running hurdles, I had a buddy who was French. His name was Guy Drut and he had a Polish grandfather. So the grandson swore very well in Polish. Most often when we knelt next to each other in the starting blocks. However, this was not the most surprising thing.

Guy was a compulsive tobacco smoker and a virtuoso of the minnow technique. He smoked only Gauloises. Two packets a day quite comfortably, obviously training hard. Also speed endurance, which requires good lung ventilation.

Often during the warm-up before a run he would suddenly disappear from the stadium, somehow without making sense. He would come back a quarter of an hour later as if nothing had happened. I wondered what he was doing that for? I began to suspect that he was “doping”. But nothing of the sort.

Guy would sneak out for a few smokes simply. He would lock himself in the loo for a quick smoke of a few cigarettes. He would occasionally smoke between runs in competitions. I have to admit that I was a little taken aback when I saw this at a meeting in Formia.

After his performance in the qualifiers, before the start of the final Guy appeared in the window on the first floor of the club building with a cigarette in his teeth. With little time to spare, he smoked two, at most three Gauloises. In the final, he broke a personal best close to the European record.

Not only did this smoke-swallower become the world’s best hurdler in less than a decade, he was also the Olympic champion in the 110 metres hurdles, breaking the dominance of the Americans in this discipline.

Apart from his smoking habit, which the sport apparently did not suffer from, Guy was a free spirit and entertainer. He sometimes ended after-party banquets with dancing on the table. Of course, this was among friends and long before he became France’s Sports Minister.

From drug addict to champion

Roughly speaking, no kind of drug addiction makes a person healthier or fitter. It lowers physical and intellectual abilities. In extreme cases, it degenerates personality and organism, and finally kills.

But there is the question of where the limit lies, beyond which there is no going back. It undoubtedly exists somewhere and seems to be linked to the type of addiction. Hard drugs supposedly don’t stand a chance, especially if used for a long time. But do they really?

Something has happened in Polish sport that contradicts this. There was someone who achieved the impossible. This someone’s name is Jerzy Górski and he broke through the bottom of a long-term addiction to heavy drugs to be born again and become a triathlon champion.

The black hole in his biography lasted several years. He took everything that was on the market. He stole to buy drugs, so he was in prison. He reached the state of a human wreck. Finally he ended up in Monar and with Marek Kotański.

Click here to read the full story.

By Marek Jóźwik

Translated by Tomasz Krzyżanowski

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