Eddie Edwards is a British ski jumping champion who was the first (and only) competitor to represent Great Britain at the Winter Olympics in Ski Jumping. He became Britain’s 1st and only Olympic ski jumper and was fondly re-christened “Eddie the Eagle”.
Born Michael Edwards on December 5th 1963 (still a public holiday for casualty departments all over the world) in Cheltenham, Eddie was destined to carry on the family business and become a plasterer. But at the age of 13 after a school skiing trip all that changed.
He got the skiing bug and as soon as he was old enough travelled to Europe to teach skiing in many of the winter resorts. He competed internationally in Alpine Skiing then decided to have a go at ski jumping and in just 2 years he was jumping off 90 metre and 120 metre jumps that seasoned ski jumpers take 10 years to work up to!
1997 Eddie represented Britain at the World Ski Jumping Championships at Oberstorf.
Then in 1988 he travelled to Calgary and represented Britain in the Winter Olympics. As the guy who came 58th (he finished 56th out of 57 competitors but the 57th was disqualified) he got more publicity than the Gold Medal winner and Eddie’s heroic Olympic efforts thrust him into the limelight. This endeared him to the public and made him a household name. He was known for wearing bottle top glasses which steamed up when he ski-jumped.
Eddie gained his Eagle nickname after the International Olympics Committee President, Juan Antonio Samaranch, referenced him during the closing ceremony: ‘At Calgary people set new goals, created new world records and some even flew like an eagle’.
He had a top 50 chart hit with “Fly Eddie Fly” and a number 2 hit in Finland with “Mum Nienmi En Eitu”. He travelled the world appearing on many TV shows and became (and still is) a popular addition to the after dinner speaking circuit.
In addition to all this Eddie gained a Law degree in the summer of 2003 after studying at Demontfort University in Leicester.
In June 2003 Eddie married his wife Sam in true “Eddie the Eagle” style at the Little White Chapel Drive Through in Las Vegas. They now have two daughters, Ottilie Rose and Honey.
Eddie still holds the British Olympic record for ski jumping at 71 metres; his personal best is currently 119.5 metres. He holds the world record for stunt jumping (10 cars/6 buses) and was ranked world number 9 at amateur speed skiing (106.8mph).
Although he is remembered for coming last, Eddie always says that just getting to the Olympics was his Gold Medal which epitomises the true Olympic Spirit.
In 2011 he won BBC1’s ‘Celebrity Wipeout’ and in February 2013 was the first winner of ITV1’s brand new diving show ‘Splash!’.
Eddie The Eagle’ film, based on Eddie’s life was released in April 2016, starring Hugh Jackman.