Eddie 'The Eagle' Film Hits Cinemas 1st April
Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards became a symbol of the Olympic spirit when he took part in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. He didn’t win either of the two ski jumping events he entered (in fact, he came last in both) and he certainly didn’t fit the profile of an elite athlete. But he put everything into achieving his Olympic dream of simply competing and that’s why he’s remembered as a ‘heroic failure’.
Eddie’s love of skiing began as a child, with regular trips to the Gloucester ski centre. His passion was truly ignited with a school ski trip to the Italian Dolomites and he became a good downhill skier. In fact, he very nearly made it into the British downhill skiing team for the 1984 Winter Olympics, but narrowly missed out.
It was this setback that encouraged him to work harder to achieve his goal of reaching the Olympics. He moved to the USA to give himself the opportunity to train and take part in a higher level of competition, to raise his own level. However, he soon realised that he was running out of funds.
It was then that Eddie decided to switch disciplines and take up ski jumping. There were no other Brits competing in ski jumping at the time, making qualification for the Olympics much easier. However, at more than 9kg heavier than the next heaviest competitor and with the need to wear very thick glasses which had a tendency to steam up at altitude, Eddie was not your typical ski jumper.
Two years’ later, the International Olympic Committee introduced new rules to ensure that only elite athletes at the very top of their sport could qualify for the Olympics and, sadly, Eddie never competed at that level again. However, the ruling has ensured that his story is a unique one of determination in the face of adversity.
If you’re looking to inspire your students with snowsports, a school ski trip to the Dolomites is an excellent place to start! If you need any information or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our School Ski Specialists.