Eddie the Eagle Edwards
Born on 5th of December 1953
(full name and title: Michael Edwards)
Born: December 5, 1963
Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards is something of an enigma in the world of Olympic Legends and British sporting heroes. He is the most successful of his countrymen at the sport of Ski-Jumping ever and yet is remembered more for his failures than his triumphs.
Edwards faced a battle from the start in his sport. Firstly, he came from a country that simply does not compete at Ski Jumping as a rule. Secondly, he received no funding and had to finance himself completely. As if there wasn't already enough adversity, he was also very short sighted. He had to wear glasses at all times, which could mist up during the jump and make him effectively jump blind.
He was also considerably heavier than his fellow competitors, weighing in at over 9kg more than even the largest of his contemporaries in the sport. Despite all his handicaps, Edwards did achieve a British National Ski-Jumping record and was once ranked 9th in Amateur World speed-skiing with a speed of 109 mph.
'The Eagle' became a cult figure during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games at Calgary. Coming last in all his events, despite setting a British Ski Jump record, he captured the imagination of the fans there and back home. He was the first single athlete ever referred to in the speech at the closing of the winter Olympic Games, to chants of 'Eddie, Eddie' from the large crowd watching the closing ceremony. Some, however, felt that Edwards presence was something of an insult to the level of competition and stiffer qualification requirements were introduced.
Eddie the Eagle was able to cash in his notoriety, at one stage being able to command fees of £10 000 per hour for appearances. Unfortunately, he was later to declare himself bankrupt. He blamed his trustees for mismanagement of a trust fund set up for his earnings. This led to Edwards taking up law, in which he now holds a degree.
In 2008, work began on a film about the life of Edwards with Steve Coogan playing the leading role.
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