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Climbing to the top of the esports scene is a big challenge that many players accept, but only a small group ultimately make it. However, you will find plenty of players who have traveled the road "from zero to hero." These include Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostylyev and Jaroslaw "pashaBiceps" Jarzabkowski. Their achievements impress and inspire young CS:GO players to train even harder. But how did it happen that the aforementioned two have achieved so much?
An unruly kid who climbed to the top
The Ukrainian star's path to the top was definitely not paved with roses. s1mple has been interested in games since childhood, mainly thanks to his brother. He played his first Counter-Strike matches when he was just a few years old. At first, however, probably no one thought that this is how his career would unfold.
He took his first steps on the professional CS:GO scene in 2013. s1mple's successful performances in online and lan tournaments led to talk of him as a future CS star. A significant step forward for the Ukrainian's career was joining HellRaisers, where he played alongside Dosia and markeloff, among others. With this team he managed to get to the CS:GO Major, DreamHack Winter 2014, where HR reached all the way to the quarterfinals.
A few months later, s1mple's career took a sharp turn, and his image suffered for two important reasons. Firstly, he was banned from ESL tournaments for cheating in the past and using multiple accounts in tournaments of that very company. The second problem was the increasingly frequent reports of the player's inappropriate behavior. s1mple was accused of toxicity, which was said to prevent the building of healthy relationships in the team.
Almost all of 2015 s1mple spent wandering from one team to another, and it was only in early 2016, when he joined Team Liquid, that he seemed to have found stability. After only four months, the Ukrainian, who explained his decision by missing his family, left Liquid's main squad. With this team he played at three Majors, finishing consecutively in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, which was an excellent result.
Those who claimed that the Ukrainian would remain without a team for a long time were greatly mistaken. In August 2016, s1mple officially left Team Liquid and moved to an organization from his homeland - Natus Vincere. Since then, he has continuously represented the colors of this club, achieving success after success.
It's already safe to say that s1mple has won everything there is to win in CS:GO. The sniper repeatedly stood on the podium of the most important tournaments organized, for example, by BLAST and ESL. He was honored with numerous MVP awards and twice won the title of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player in the world awarded by HLTV.
Until recently, the only trophy the Ukrainian was missing was the trophy for first place at the CS:GO Major. s1mple and his NAVI comrades, however, made good on their goal, triumphing at PGL Major Stockholm 2021.
On his way to the esports pinnacle, s1mple really had a lot of problems. He struggled with a ban, often changed teams, and his toxic behavior didn't help his stable career either. In time, however, the Ukrainian managed to put everything in order, and joining NAVI turned out to be an actual shot in the arm.
SCOU7 - an opportunity for young CS:GO players
Until a couple of years ago, there were very few projects in the CS:GO esports scene to help promote and develop players. Currently, the situation is quite different. One of such projects is SCOU7, in which Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players compete for the opportunity to sign a professional contract. In this way, they get adequate support, allowing them to focus on further development.
Global success of a simple guy from Nasielsk
The story of Jaroslaw "pashaBiceps" Jarzabkowski is equally inspiring. The player is known basically all over the world for his above-average musculature, his game and successes achieved under the flag of Virtus.pro, as well as his charisma, openness and sense of humor, which he shares during streams with his viewers.
The Nasielsk-born Pole started his esports career back in the days of Counter-Strike 1.6, where he got involved with many Polish teams over the course of several years of playing. As he recalls, quite a few people did not believe that playing would pay off. More than once he was met with incomprehension from those around him and attempts to encourage him to take a standard job.
However, pashaBiceps stood firmly on his own and, as it later turned out, rightly so. After all, when the era of the original Golden Five came to an end, a difficult task appeared before kuben, NEO, TaZ and Loord: to find a replacement for LUq. One of the main candidates was precisely Jaroslaw Jarzabkowski, who, like Lukasz Wnek, had an excellent skill with a sniper rifle.
Ultimately, the team bet on him. Performing with new companions under the flag of Frag eXecutors, AGAiN and ESC Gaming, pasha's formation in the CS 1.6 era managed to win at least the prestigious World Cyber Games and Samsung Euro Championship.
Later came a new version of CS - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and with it came some problems. The team was no longer performing as well as it had in the 1.6 era, so there was increasing talk of inevitable changes to come. The rebuilding of the lineup at the time included the removal of Loord and kuben, but pasha's future also remained unknown.
The player was unsure whether he wanted to continue competing on the esports scene, as it was not entirely clear how the future of Counter-Strike would shape up. For this reason, he considered ending his career and starting to look for a normal, full-time job.
Eventually, pashaBiceps stayed with CS and, together with NEO and TaZ, formed a new team. The experienced players were joined by two decidedly less titled and recognizable players: byali and Snax. Such a move turned out to be hitting a real bull's eye, as the team began to compete with the top again.
In March 2014, the Polish team shocked the world by triumphing at the CS:GO Major - EMS One Katowice. The squad performed brilliantly in front of its home crowd, and pasha himself won MVP of the entire tournament.
In the following months and years pashaBiceps and his teammates celebrated success many more times. They won ESL, StarSeries, FACEIT and DreamHack tournaments, among others, and remained at the top of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene for a very long time.
Nevertheless, with the passage of time, the individual form of Jaroslaw Jarzabkowski and the level presented by VP declined. Personnel rotations became inevitable. pashaBiceps left the squad in February 2019 and after that he did not return to fully professional competition in CS:GO. The player set his sights on a career as a streamer, which, with such charisma, seemed a perfectly natural move. In addition, pasha is passionate about many sports, about which he speaks openly, while promoting such an attitude among the young people watching him closely.
The story of pashaBiceps shows that it is not always worth listening to demotivating advice. Jaroslaw Jarzabkowski also proved that success can be achieved, no matter where you come from.