Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards
Michael Edwards, better known as Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, was the first competitor to represent the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team in Olympic Ski jumping.
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, and was ranked 55th in the world.
Eddie was handicapped 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 – and so he finished last in both the 70 m and 90 m 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.
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”.
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