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L E’s Stories – “An Exercise In Dreams And Determination” – The Story Of British Ski Jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards

While being the 2nd accredited Sportsphile….and following after our Bone Daddy, the original Sportsphile….for I have developed an opinion about sports that requires some explanation….cuz I come from the school of thinking that the true value of participating in sports really has nothing to do with whether you win or lose….whereas, subscribers to the Vince Lombardi school of thought believe that “winning is everything”…..and nothing else that you do as an athlete is worthwhile, other than winning.  You see, long before any and all sports became a professional sport, the games were created simply for the joy of playing and participating….not for whether you win or lose….but rather for the thrill and joy of competing on the field of play….cuz at the heart of sport lies the fact that they are fun to play.  This concept of sports was taught by Bone Daddy’s father, Pops…..who raised his three sons by teaching them to play many various sports…..as his sons learned the valuable lessons of life like “fair play”…..”following the rules’ ….. “giving your best effort at any endeavor that you choose to participate in” ….. “getting back up after being knocked down and getting back into the fray”…. “allowing anyone who wants to participate to have a chance to play, regardless of the size, shape, color of skin or ability”….”being a good winner, and being a good loser”……and of greatest import, “dream a lot and follow your dreams”…..for the lessons learned in regards to just these six teachings lies the groundwork for so many lessons of life that will serve one well along life’s path.  So, today’s story is about an athlete…..who albeit was not the most naturally talented…..but didn’t let disappointments encountered along his athletic journey dilute or deter him from his eventual goal to compete in the Olympic Games….for this is the inspiring story of Eddie The Eagle….who competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics as a ski jumper on the British Olympic Team…..as Eddie Edwards was a true testament to the power of believing in oneself and never giving up….and therefore, deserves his place here at ImaSportsphile. 

 

 

Olympics – 2010 – Special – Olympic Legend Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards Returns To Calgary – The Site Of The 1988 Winter Olympics In Which He Competed

 

Michael Edwards (born 5 December 1963), known as “Eddie the Eagle”, is an English ski-jumper and Olympian who in 1988 became the first competitor since 1928 to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping….while finishing last in the 70 m and 90 m jump events…..after which he held the British ski jumping record from 1988 to 2001…..plus, he also took part in amateur speed skiing, running at 106.8 km/h (66.4 mph)….and became a stunt jumping world record holder for jumping over 6 buses.  In 2016, he was portrayed by Taron Egerton and Tom and Jack Costello in the biographical film Eddie the Eagle.

 

Olympics – 1988 – Calgary Winter Game Special – “The Story Of Eddie The Eagle” (Czech)

 

Edwards was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire…..where his family called him by his given name, Michael…..as “Eddie” is a nickname derived by school friends from his surname.  Having not made the grade as a downhill skier, he switched to ski jumping as there were no other British ski jumpers with whom to compete for a place…..when Edwards began jumping under the supervision of John Viscome and Chuck Berghorn in Lake Placid, New York….while using Berghorn’s equipment….albeit he had to wear six pairs of socks to make the boots fit.  He was disadvantaged by his weight….which at about 82 kg (181 lb, 12st 13lb) was more than 9 kg (20 lb) heavier than the next heaviest competitor…..and by his lack of financial support for training, being totally self-funded…..plus, another problem was that he was very  nearsighted….while wearing thick glasses under his goggles….which would mist up at altitude.

 

Olympics – 1988 – Calgary Winter Games – 90 m Ski Jump Competition – GBR Michael “Eddie The Eagle” Edwards – The Legend

 

Edwards first represented Great Britain at the 1987 World Championships in Oberstdorf in Bavaria, West Germany….while being ranked 55th in the world…..as this performance qualified him as the sole British applicant for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski jumping competition…..as he received confirmation of his qualification for The Games while working as a plasterer and temporarily residing in a Finnish mental hospital….which was due to lack of funds for alternative accommodation rather than as a patient.  Edwards’ jump of 71 m at Calgary in the Winter Olympics was then a British record…. which is now 134.50 m and held by Halifax-born Sam Bolton…..however, his Olympic jump still puts him 6th on the all-time list of British ski jumpers.

 

Ski Jumping & Interview – 1988 – Special – Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards Interviewed On Sports Review 1988

 

During the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Edwards competed in and finished last in both the 70 m and 90 m ski jump events.  In the 70 m, he scored 69.2 points from two jumps of 61.0 m….while next-to-last competitor Bernat Solà Pujol of Spain scored 140.4 points from 71 m and 68.5 m jumps….as the winner was Matti Nykänen of Finland….who had 229.1 points from 89.5 m jumps.  In the 90 m, Edwards scored 57.5 points from 71 m and 67 m jumps…..as next-to-last Todd Gilman of Canada had 110.8 points from 96 m and 86.5 m…..which was again won by “The Flying Finn” Nykänen….. who won with 224 points from 118.5 m and 107 m jumps.

 

Olympics – 1988 – Calgary Winter Games – Ski Jump 70 m Competition – With Chris Shenkel On The Call

 

Olympics – 1988 – Calgary Winter Games – Ski Jump 90 m Competition Special – Winner Matti Nykaenen vs Last Place Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards

 

From the beginning, the press version of his story was “embroidered with falsehoods”.  “They said I was afraid of heights. But I was doing sixty jumps a day then, which is hardly something someone who was afraid of heights would do.”…..but his lack of success endeared him to people around the globe…..and he subsequently became a media celebrity….who appeared on talk shows around the world….while appearing on The Tonight Show during the Games……as the press nicknamed him “Mr. Magoo”…..and one Italian journalist called him a “ski dropper”…..but nothing could detract from the fame he had garnered at the Calgary Olympics as “Eddie The Eagle”.  At the closing ceremony, the president of the Organizing Committee, Frank King, singled out Edwards for his contribution…..as King said, looking at the competitors, “You have broken world records and you have established personal bests. Some of you have even soared like an eagle.”

 

Ski Jumping & Interview – 2012 – Special – Life And The Olympics – As Seen Through The Eyes Of 1988 Calgary Ski Jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards

 

Following the widespread attention that Edwards received in Calgary shortly after the Olympics finished….that is when the entry requirements were made stricter….which made it nearly impossible for anyone to follow his example ….as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) instituted what became known as the Eddie the Eagle Rule…..which requires Olympic hopefuls to compete in international events…..and be placed in the top 30% or the top 50 competitors, whichever is fewer…..after which “Eddie The Eagle” failed to qualify for the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France….and the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway…..then he got a five-year sponsorship from Eagle Airlines, a small British charter company, to support his attempt to reach the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan….but failed to qualify for those as well.

 

Ski Jumping – 1989 – World Championships At Garmisch-Partenkirchen – GBR Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards 70m Ski Jump

 

 

On 13 February 2008, Edwards made a return visit to Calgary to take part in festivities marking the 20th anniversary of the Calgary Games…..when during his visit, he rode the zip-line at Canada Olympic Park with a member of the Jamaican bobsled team…..as the ride simulates the speed of a ski-jumper….and led a procession of skiers down the slopes of the park while carrying an Olympic torch.  Edwards was chosen as a torchbearer in the relay for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics…..and he ran with the torch on January 7, 2010 in Winnipeg.

 

Ski Jumping & Interview – 2012 – London New Years Day Parade – Featuring Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards Interview About Being The Invited Guest

 

Edwards released a book (and a video) called On the Piste.  In 1991, he recorded a single in Finnish entitled “Mun nimeni on Eetu” (“My name is Eetu”), B-sided with “Eddien Siivellä” (“On Eddie’s Wing”) though he does not speak Finnish. Edwards learned the lyrics phonetically and the song reached # 2 in the Finnish charts. The songs were written by Finnish singer Irwin Goodman.  In the same year (1991), Edwards completed a charity ski jump at a ski slope in Christchurch, Dorset…..as he raised £23000.00 for BBC Children in Need by jumping over 10 cars using a ski jump made of scaffolding.

 

Ski Jumping -1991 – Olympic Ski Jumper “Eddie The Eagle” Jumps 10 Cars For Children’s Charity

 

 

Olympics – 2020 – Calgary Olympics (1988) Ski Jumper “Eddie The Eagle”  Does A 6-Story Free Fall Into A Big Air Bag

 

Toboggan – 2016 – Olympic Ski Jumper “Eddie The Eagle” Sets Toboggan Jumping World Record

 

Edwards appeared in a number of advertising campaigns, e.g. on television, promoting cars, and commanded fees of £10,000 an hour.  Nevertheless, he declared bankruptcy in 1992, claiming that a trust fund for his earnings was not set up properly.  In 2003, he graduated from De Montfort University in Leicester with a degree in law.  “I’ve been interested in law since taking out a civil action against my trustees 10 years ago,” he said in a 2001 interview.  On 25 February 2012, he appeared as a competitor on episode 2 of BBC1’s Let’s Dance for Sport Relief, 2012 and got through to the final on most public votes. His performances were accompanied by the Royal British Legion Band & Corps Of Drums Romford.  In 2013, he won the first series of the British celebrity diving programme Splash!, mentored by Tom Daley.  In January 2014, he commentated on the Channel 4 TV programme The Jump, where 12 famous people took part in winter sports.  As part of each episode, Edwards jumped off the largest of three ski jumps.  In the same year, he appeared as a guest on the ITV2 comedy show Fake Reaction.  In 2017, he returned to the ski jumping facilities at Canada Olympic Park, where he had taken part in the Olympics in 1988, to make some jumps that were his first in over 15 years.

 

 Ski Jumping – 2015 – Special – Eddie The Eagle In “The Jump”

 

Ski Jumping & News – 2011 – Fox River Grove Ski Jumping Event – With Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards Jumping And Receiving A Chia Pack

 

In March 2015, it was announced that 20th Century Fox had acquired the film, with Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman starring and Dexter Fletcher directing, from a screenplay by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton.   Egerton would portray the adult Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards….with Tom and Jack Costello as younger versions of Edwards….while Jackman would portray his coach, Bronson Peary.  It was later announced that Christopher Walken had also joined the film, portraying the role of Bronson Peary’s mentor.  The film, Eddie the Eagle, was released in early 2016…..and grossed a worldwide total of $46.1 million.  In the UK, it grossed $12.8 million….thus making it the highest grossing British film of 2016. 

Movie & Olympics – 2016 – Eddie the Eagle Official Trailer – Starring Taron Egerton + Hugh Jackman

 

Movie Clips & Olympics – 2016 – From Movie “Eddie The Eagle” – Scene When Eddie Edward Set British Shi Jump Record At 1988 Calgary Winter Games – In “Celebrate Your Wins However Big Of Small”

 

 

Movie Clips & Ski Jumping – 2016 – From Movie “Eddie The Eagle” – The Training Montage

 

Movie Clips & Ski Jumping – 2016 – From Movie “Eddie The Eagle” – “Can You Give Me A Push”

 

 

Movie Clips & Ski Jumping – 2016 – Hugh Jackman’s 90 m Ski Jump In “Eddie The Eagle”

 

Movie Clips & Olympics – 2016 – From Movie “Eddie The Eagle” – Scene Of Eddie’s Media Statement After Competing In The Calgary Winter Games 70m Ski Jump

 

 

Movie & Olympics – 2016 – Clip From Movie “Eddie The Eagle” – 1988 Calgary Winter Games 90 m Ski Jump Competition – With GBN Michael “Eddie The Eagle” Edwards

 

 

Movie & Interview – 2016 – From Movie “Eddie The Eagle – Funny Interview with Hugh Jackman & Taron Egerton

Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie The Eagle” Edwards (Taron Egerton)…..as an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper….who never stopped believing in himself…..even as an entire nation was counting him out.  With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics…..for he was the ultimate loveable underdog with a never say die attitude.  My favorite line in the interview with Eddie below is him saying  “Getting there was my gold medal”….for that’s what the Olympic spirit is all about…. cuz after posting this story, I realize that I really admire Eddie The Eagle…..not for his results….but because he represented the true spirit of the Olympics…..as the important thing in life is not the triumph…..but rather the struggle….and it is my opinion that we really need more “eagles” in the Olympics that lift The Games to the skies.  

 

Olympics & Movies – 2016 – On Demand Entertainment Presents An Interview With “Eddie The Eagle”- As He Admits He Cries When He Watches

In concluding this story….which is evidence of how Michael “Eddie The Eagle” Edwards embodies the very spirit and love of sports….as it really has nothing to do with whether you are the best athlete in any particular sport….but more so on whether you are the best that you can be at any particular discipline in sports….and whether you have a dream that you are determined to achieve in regards to any particular sport….and “Eddie The Eagle” was the perfect example of why sports provide such a wonderful venue for chasing those dreams.  Also, after watching the movie “Eddie The Eagle”, I realized why Eddie couldn’t go as far as the other jumpers….for you see, the extra weight and aerodynamic drag of his gigantic balls was holding him back.  

 

Ski Jumping & Interview – 2016 – ABC News’ Rob Marciano Sits Down With Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards After Seeing The Movie By Same Name

 

Movie & Interviews – 2016 – With Hugh Jackman + Taron Egerton – Stars Of Movie “Eddie The Eagle” 

 

 

 

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