Eddie The Eagle Edwards
December 5, 2011 by staff
Eddie The Eagle Edwards, Michael Edwards (born 5 December 1963), better known as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, is a British skier who was the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping. At the time, Edwards was the British ski jumping record holder, the world number nine in amateur speed skiing (106.8 mph) and the stunt jumping world record holder (10 cars/6 buses).[
Edwards was born in Cheltenham, England. A good downhill skier, he narrowly missed out on the GB team for that event for the 1984 Games. To improve his chances to qualify for 1988, he moved to Lake Placid in the US to train and enter races of a higher standard; however, he soon found himself short on funds. To realize his Olympic dream he decided to switch to ski jumping for reasons of cost and easier qualification with no other competing British ski jumpers.
Eddie began jumping under the watchful eye of Chuck Berghorn in Lake Placid, NY, using his equipment though he had to wear six layers of socks to make the boots fit. Edwards was handicapped by his weight—at about 82 kg (181 lb), more than 9 kg (20 lb) heavier than the next heaviest competitor—and by his lack of financial support for training—he was totally self-funded. 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. Eddie was informed of his qualification for the Games whilst working as a plasterer and residing temporarily in a Finnish mental hospital due to lack of funds for alternative accommodation (rather than as a patient). Edwards first represented Great Britain at the 1987 World Championships, and was ranked 55th in the world and this performance qualified him, as the sole British applicant, for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski jumping competition.
Edwards was the best ski jumper in the United Kingdom, setting a British record of 73.5 m in one of his Calgary jumps in 1988.
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