It’s been 28 years since a short-sighted plasterer from Gloucestershire leapt into the hearts of the world’s sporting community with a dogged display of Olympic failure. Now, the tale behind Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards’ unforgettable show of strength in the face of adversity has been brought to the big screen.
Eddie the Eagle, the Dexter Fletcher-directed biopic, will bring back happy memories for those who witnessed the ski jumper’s spectacular failure at Calgary in ’88, which instantly made him a national treasure.
And in spite of finishing dead last in his only Olympics, Edwards still speaks with pride over his jump into the limelight. “I think people took me to their hearts because I was exemplifying that true Olympic spirit,” he says.
“At the time, the Olympics had become so professional, but then I came along, a guy from Britain, a country that had no snow, no training, no facilities, no ski jumps, nothing. And I still managed to qualify and become Britain’s first-ever Olympic ski jumper. I loved being there and it was lovely that people came up to me and said, ‘You made the Olympics for me, you were wonderful’.”
Now 52 and a dad of two, Edwards has returned to the day job. He hadn’t set a ski on an inrun (until recently) for 20 years, but the fear he felt at the Games still lingers in his memory.
“Every jump was terrifying. But it was always terrifying enough to make me concentrate and never so terrifying that I wouldn’t do it,” he says. “I like that adrenaline rush, although you never get used to it. But I don’t have plans to go for another Olympics.”
Eddie the Eagle starring Taron Egerton, is out in Dubai cinemas across Dubai from Thursday March 31.
Sport on film and where to try them in Dubai
Retells the incomparable story of Olympic legend Jesse Owens.
Ultimate Athletics is a club for all ages based in Dubai Sports City.
www.ultimateathleticsuae.com (050 225 7024050 225 7024).
Battle of the sexes
Based on the tennis clash between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Tennis 360 will sharpen your game at Meydan Racecourse.
www.tennisthreesixty.com (04 381 350004 381 3500).
Emraan Hashmi stars as ex-Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin. Darjeeling CC is Dubai’s oldest cricket club, based in Sports City.
www.darjeelingcricket.com (050 558 8467050 558 8467).