You know you’ve made it as an athlete or sportsperson when a movie is filmed about your career and life. The public loves nothing more than to witness an inspirational story unfold in front of their eyes, so those athletes whose tales have moved the public so much that they get immortalised on celluloid really are something special.
Recent biopics about famous sports stars include Rush, chronicling the fierce 1970s rivalry between Formula One racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda; The Damned United, the story of football manager Brian Clough’s 44-day reign as the coach of Leeds United; and Invictus, about post-apartheid South Africa’s Nelson Mandela-inspired Rugby World Cup win in 1995.
Sometimes, however, notable athletes may not necessarily be the ones who achieve the most, but the ones who try their hardest in their face of adversity. Michael Edwards, also known as “Eddie the Eagle”, is one such individual.
A good downhill skier, Eddie narrowly missed out on qualifying for Team GB in the 1984 Olympics, so he turned to ski jumping as it wouldn’t be as much of a drain on his funds and would be easier to qualify.
He first represented Great Britain at the 1987 World Championships and was ranked 55th in the world. This performance qualified him, as the sole British applicant, for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski jumping competition.
During the 1988 Winter Olympics, Eddie competed in, and finished last in, both the 70 m and 90 m events. The worse he performed, however, the more popular he became. He subsequently became a media celebrity and appeared on talk shows around the world, appearing on The Tonight Show during the Games.
Eddie did, of course, have his critics, but admirers praised him as representing the true Olympic spirit as an amateur athlete who wanted to compete at the best of his ability, regardless of his chances of winning.
Now, 27 years after exploding into the public eye, Eddie the Eagle is now a well-received box office smash, with viewers praising its feel-good inspirational messages.
At Champions Olympic Speakers you can book Michael “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards to share his story of perseverance, persistence and determination with your audience, and describe his pride on how he was personally mentioned in the closing speech of the Olympics.
To book Eddie the Eagle for your next private event, corporate event or conference, contact Champions Olympic Speakers via our online form or call us on +44 1509 85 29 27.