Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, a man who won the hearts of millions by failing epically, is getting a much-deserved biopic. It will star newcomer Taron Egerton as Edwards and Hugh Jackman as his trainer. The film will tell the story of how a simple construction worker entered the ski jump competition at the 1988 Winter Olympics despite his complete lack of experience with the sport. In case you've never heard of Edwards, here is a basic rundown of his story.
Eddie Edwards wanted more than anything to compete in the Olympic Games. He was a competent downhill skiier, but he narrowly missed the chance to qualify for the 1984 Olympics. His lack of funding didn't help him either. However, he was still able to compete by finding a sport that no British person ever bothered competing in: ski jumping.
Edwards wasn't exactly the king of person you'd expect to compete in a ski jump contest. Back in the 1980s, the UK didn't have ski jumps, and there had never been a British competitor in the sport. In fact, to this day there are no fully-fledged ski-jump facilities to be found. So when Edwards signed up to enter the competition, he was allowed to compete on the grounds that he was the only British person who bothered entering.
The minute that Edwards signed up for the competition was the moment that he decided to be bold and defy the athletic expectations of his country. It was much like how Jamaica formed a bobsled team despite there not being any snow in the country. Both Edwards and the Jamaican bobsled team debuted at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, so it was quite a year for unexpected competitors.
During his training, Edwards had to quit his job as a plasterer, so he was left with no money. This meant that he was so poor that he had to scrounge food out of the garbage and camp out in a mental hospital. Moreover, he ended up breaking his jaw during training and had to hold it together with a pillowcase tied around his head.
When Edwards eventually competed, he was able to do his jump without crashing. He finished last overall, but the fact that he was able land without falling impressed the crowd. Edwards received thunderous applause upon landing from fans who admired his gumption and determination. British onlookers at the games were especially ecstatic for the first ski jumper to represent their country. This performance forever cemented him as an Olympic legend.
He may have finished last, but the sheer popularity he attained after his performance ended up surpassing most gold medalists. He even claims that he went from earning 6,000 pounds a year to 10,000 pounds an hour. He appeared on The Tonight Show, earned a sponsorship with Eagle Airlines and even had a parade in his honor. Needless to say that good ole' Eddie has earned the right to have a biopic based on his story.
Of course, this is just the bare basics of his story, and Dexter Fletcher's new film is sure to go into more detail. So if you want to learn more about this fascinating gentleman, check out Eddie the Eagle on February 26th.