There are not many plasterers who have had a film made of their life, but Michael Edwards, better known as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards is one. Being a British skier who in 1988 became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping.
Getting To The Olympics
Eddie was born in Cheltenham, England, and was working as a plasterer when he qualified as the sole British applicant, for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski jumping competition. He had previously represented Great Britain at the 1987 World Championships in Oberstorf, and was ranked 55th in the world. He has since returned to Oberstorf, to open their new ski jumping stadium and ski jump. Eddie was handicapped at the Olympics, by his weight being more than 9 kg heavier than the next heaviest competitor; and by his lack of financial support for training – he was totally self funded. He eventually finished last in both the 70m and 90m ski jump events.
Another problem was that he was very farsighted, requiring him to wear his glasses at all times; even though when skiing they fogged to such an extent that he could not see. He also said he was scared of heights. In 1988 he travelled to Calgary and represented Britain in the Winter Olympics. He became Britain’s 1st and only Olympic ski jumper and was fondly named “Eddie the Eagle”.
The Under Dog
However, his lack of success endeared him to people all across the globe. The worse he did, the more popular he became. He subsequently became a media celebrity and appeared on talk shows around the world. The press nicknamed him “Mr. Magoo”, and one Italian journalist called him a “ski dropper”. The widespread attention that Eddie received in Calgary turned into a large embarrassment for the ski jumping establishment. Many athletes and officials felt that he was ‘making a mockery’ of the sport.
Shortly after the Olympics finished, the entry requirements were greatly toughened, making it next too impossible for anyone to follow his example. Despite not being the best in the world, at the time of his Olympic entry, Eddie was the best ski jumper in Great Britain.
After The Olympics
As the guy who came 58th, he got more publicity than the Gold Medal winner and Eddie’s heroic Olympic efforts thrust him into the limelight. He had a top 50 chart hit with “Fly Eddie Fly” and a number 2 hit in Finland with “Mum Nienmi En Eitu”. He travelled the world; appearing on many TV shows and became (and still is) a popular addition to the after dinner speaking circuit. Eddie is also busy with public relations, advertising work and until recently presented a popular Sunday radio show on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
He is often found at the Snow Dome in Tamworth, where he teaches skiing to nervous beginners and more seasoned skiers. In addition to all this, Eddie gained a Law degree in the summer of 2003; after studying at Demontfort University in Leicester. He continues his PR work, speaking, playing golf and horse riding.
Eddie released a book called ‘On the piste’ and much later a song called “Fly Eddie Fly”, that reached the Top 50 in the UK charts. He also recorded a song in Finnish, titled “Mun nimeni on Eetu” (“Eagle’s my name”), though he does not speak Finnish. Eddie’s less than perfect pronunciation added to its appeal. Later, he recorded another Finnish language song: “Eddien Siivellä” (“On Eddie’s Wing”).
TV & Film
He was crowned Winter Wipeout Celebrity Champion 2012, winning £10,000 pounds for charity and was a finalist in Let’s Dance Sports Relief 2012. Eddie was also the winner of the 2013 ITV1 prime time Saturday evening show, Splash! In 2016 for the third year since its inception, Eddie acts as mentor to the celebrity competitors on C4 show ‘The Jump’, presented by Davina McCall. He has also appeared on the C4 topical comedy show ‘The Last Leg’.
The feature film of his life story was released in 2016, featuring the famed Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman; best known as Wolverine in X-Men, as his washed up, ski jumping coach.
Eddie is a very popular after dinner and motivational speaker…
So Book Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards Today!
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
Some reviews of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards
De Vere Venues
Eddie is an absolute legend – a great story teller and an inspiration to all people on how to succeed against all the odds. He really went the extra mile to entertain our guests and was very easy to talk too. I would recommend Eddie for any event, epic!
Eddie was a pleasure to work with.