The incredible underdog story of British ski jumper Michael “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards captivated the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics and is now a major motion picture starring Hugh Jackman, Taron Egerton, and Christopher Walken.
When Michael Edwards arrived in Calgary for the 1988 Olympic Games, he was an unknown British ski jumper. When he left, he was Eddie the Eagle, one of the most beloved Olympic athletes of all time, and had captured the hearts of millions. Here is his remarkable story.
In the mid-1980's Edwards quit his job as a plasterer to pursue a most unlikely dream: qualifying for the Olympic Games in ski jumping. The odds against him were long. For starters, England is not known for producing fabulous Olympic athletes, and he was far from a physical specimen: 5' 8″ and chubby, with thick eyeglasses that fogged up in cold weather, making it hard for him to see during his jumps. Training was near impossible since in all of Great Britain, there was not a single Olympic regulation ski jump. And he had almost no money, which forced him to sleep in his car and at a mental institution, to scrounge food from dumpsters as he attempted to train.
But Eddie succeeded in qualifying, a stunning achievement in itself. And that winter he captivated the world, as millions of people who had never before cared about ski jumping were transfixed. Even Ronald Reagan called a halt to governmental meetings to watch Eddie jump. That he would ultimately come in dead last was beside the point; on his return home he was greeted by 20,000 adoring fans. Eddie the Eagle had left his mark.
In Eddie the Eagle, Edwards tells his fascinating life story, from his modest upbringing in Gloucestershire, to his obsessive devotion to ski jumping, to stardom on the world stage, taking us inside one of the most improbable and heartwarming sports stories of our time.