Eddie the Eagle slated to soar again at Canada Olympic Park
The British ski jumper who won the hearts of Calgarians and the world during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games will return this weekend to the site of his last place finishes.
Michael Edwards, better known as ‘Eddie the Eagle’, will be at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park on Sunday to jump alongside members of the Calgary Altius Ski Jumpers. The event is open to the public and admission is free.
The self-described ‘ultimate underdog’ overcame numerous obstacles to compete against the best ski jumpers in the world. Edwards grew up skiing on a dry ski slope (an artificial hill without snow), lacked access to a ski jump, had no sponsors and did not have trainers or proper equipment. The British ski jumper’s resilience secured him a spot in Calgary and his feel-good story resonated with the Olympic crowds and those watching televised coverage of the games.
“I think it was such a powerful message what was happening in Calgary with not only myself but the Jamaican bobsled team,” said Edwards during a break between runs at the Kicking Horse resort near Golden, B.C. “I was this tiny little country against the goliath nations of ski jumping. People thought ‘Oh yes, this is what the Olympics are all about’. I was exemplifying the Olympic spirit and it was such a powerful message that people still remember it now.”
Edwards finished last among all of the competitors in the 70m and 90m ski jumping events.
“I’d only been jumping for 20 months and everyone else there had been jumping for 20 odd years. There was no way that I was going to beat anybody. It was just great being there and doing the best that I could for my country.”
Despite the fact his initial moment of international fame occurred nearly three decades ago, ‘Eddie’ says he continues to draw attention wherever he goes. There was a resurgence in interest for the first Olympic British ski jumper following the 2016 theatrical release of the ‘Eddie the Eagle‘ film.
“It’s really nice when I get people coming up and saying hi and ‘I remember what happened 29 years ago’ for those of us who are old enough to remember,” said Edwards. “The kids are now coming up and saying ‘I saw your movie, I saw your movie'. It’s wonderful!’.”
The Eagle says he approves of how the movie depicted his journey. “They really captured the heart and spirit and essence of my story,” said Edwards. “I’ve seen it 15 times now and it still makes me laugh and it makes me cry.”
Edwards says it’s been nearly a decade since his last visit to Calgary. The last time he was here was in 2008 for the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and he continues to hold warm memories of the city and its people.
“The Calgarians really took me into their hearts and they showed me a really, really good time. They were really appreciative of what I was doing, my efforts, and it was lovely.”
Edwards returned to ski jumping last year following a hiatus of nearly 20 years. He was in Courcevel in France to teach a small group of Brits how to ski jump and decided to ‘give it a go’. “It was great. It still scared the hell of out of me.”
The Eagle says he is prepared to return to the ski jump tower at Canada Olympic Park this weekend and will jump if the conditions are right.
“I’ve brought my jumping boots. I’m kind of looking forward to it,” laughed Edwards. “I’ll have a nice meal on Saturday night because that might be my last meal.”
Edwards is scheduled to jump on Sunday, March 5 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Canada Olympic Park. The jump will be followed by a photograph and autograph session.