Blick reporter Felix Bingesser writes the Sunday Blick column By the way.
Happiness and joy, tragedy and sadness. The roller coaster ride of life and sport has a name these days: Odermatt.
A week ago, Marco Odermatt celebrated his great triumph in Adelboden and made Ski-Switzerland freak out.
48 hours later, Josef “Seppi” Odermatt, namesake of Marco and also Nidwaldner, died at the age of just 69 in the old people’s home in Buochs. The jubilation from Adelboden does not echo as far as Buochs.
Seppi Odermatt dies alone, penniless, forgotten.
Seppi was once a gifted ski racer too. He is twice vice world champion among professionals in the USA. At a young age, with his long, flowing blond hair, he was even the sunny boy of Swiss skiing.
Seppi grew up in Dallenwil as one of four children. He becomes a window builder like his father. And he is an enthusiastic skier, has talent and courage, is promoted and makes it into the national team. There he shares a room with Roland Collombin.
A lovable, gullible bird of paradise
Collombin and Odermatt. Two of the same wood. Highly talented, but very attached to the pleasures of life. On the descent in Garmisch, Seppi crashes spectacularly and is then in the hospital for weeks with his severe back injuries.
He drops out of the Swiss-Ski squad and goes to the USA at the age of 23. There he duels with people like Hansi Hinterseer, who becomes his friend. And with former World Cup stars like Walter Tresch and Werner Mattle, who are working professionally in America towards the end of their careers. Seppi became Vice World Champion twice. The Tyrolean Andre Arnold is in front of the sun.
Seppi earns good money, meets people like Bruce Springsteen and later becomes Ivana Trump’s private ski instructor in Aspen. He marries a Spaniard and invests in an apartment building in central Switzerland.
Then the descent begins. Seppi, the lovable but also somewhat gullible bird of paradise, becomes addicted to drugs and smokes cocaine out of the foil. He is briefly imprisoned after a trespassing in the United States.
The mortgage rate is rising, some of the tenants in his apartment building at home are no longer paying. He is one of the first in the country to open a fitness center for women in central Switzerland.
But the good Seppi looks after one of his customers a little too closely. His wife separates from him. It’s an expensive divorce. Seppi loses everything. The end of life becomes torture.
Drug use destroyed his lungs. He has been living in a retirement home with an oxygen machine on his back for the past two years. Last Monday he couldn’t breathe at all. And suffocates.
This Odermatt left quietly
Seppi Odermatt is buried in Dallenwil on January 21. In the closest circle. Only a few friends are left to him, who was once hailed in the USA.
During his time in the World Cup, Seppi also competed in Kitzbühel. His namesake Marco will thunder down the Streif on the day Josef Odermatt is buried. The ski world will be at Marco’s feet again. It is getting loud.
The other Odermatt has gone. Really quiet.