Words by Sam Haddad | Photos from the film Eddie the Eagle/Lionsgate
I’m old enough to remember the exploits of Eddie the Eagle first hand. I can’t picture watching Team GB’s first and only ski jumper come last at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary but his court jester narrative had certainly trickled down to the school playground to the extent that we wrote a rap celebrating his haplessness.
“I’m a ski jumper in a supersonic class/When I fly off a jump I fall straight on my ass…” went a couple of lines. For my overriding memory of Eddie the Eagle back then was that he was incredibly crap, triumphantly so, with all his goofing around on TV simply reinforcing that fact.
“My overriding memory of Eddie the Eagle back then was that he was incredibly crap, triumphantly so…”
But looking back today, having watched the Hollywood biopic about his life, which is now in cinemas, and set to be the feel-good film of the year, I can’t believe how wrong I was. Not to mention how much of the bigger picture I’d missed. Most notably the class dimension that ran through his career and how working class Michael “Eddie” Edwards was at a time when snowsports was dominated by upper class, or at most middle class, athletes. As in many ways it still is.