The amazing story of Eddie the Eagle

Eddie The Eagle, a film based on the true story of Michael Edwards, retraces the epic journey of the British ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

by Julia Migné

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© Eddie the Eagle

Eddie Edwards always dreamt of going to the Olympics. Practising tirelessly in various disciplines from a young age, he strongly believed that one day he’ll be good enough in one to make it to the glorious event.

Having got a heart to spare but little talent, Eddie – played by the talented Taron Egerton –is unconditionally encouraged by his mum but his dad struggles to understand what seems to him like an unrealistic obsession. Far from being discouraged, Eddie decides to become a ski jumper after realising that in the last six decades there hadn’t been a single representation from the UK in ski-jumping.

Armed with his endless motivation and Olympic dreams in mind, he heads to the training facility of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. While self-training, the ambitious Eddie decides to try jumping from a 40-metre hill and injures himself, ending up at the hospital.

His tenacity does not go unnoticed and ex-champion Bronson Peary finally agrees to train him. Grumpy, alcoholic and filled with broken dreams and bitterness, the American played by Hugh Jackman, is only a shell of what he used to be.

Depicting the perseverance of Eddie despite the struggles, broken bones and mockeries he endures, Eddie the Eagle celebrates the importance of having hopes and dreams even when faced with adversity. But the film is also realistic and highlights that chasing a dream comes at a price: hard work and time.

When Eddie decides to compete at the 1988 games, Bronson delivers a powerful speech explaining to him that it would be better to wait and train to excel at the 1992 Olympics rather than just showing up and embarrass himself in the 1988 games.

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Despite heading there anyway and actually embarrassing himself, Eddie still manages to get some lucidity back and holds a press conference announcing to the world:

“I’m not deluded I know there are plenty of athletes more deserving of publicity than me. And I would like to apologise if my silly antics have cast a shadow over their achievements. I also know I was messing around after the 70 meter jump the other day. I was very excited. But I take jumping very seriously. In fact, I love it. I love it very nearly as much as proving people wrong.”

Even though Eddie wasn’t a great ski-jumper, his style of jumping mimicked that of an eagle flying, earning him the name “Eddie The Eagle”. Eddie didn’t win any medals at the Olympics but his persistence definitely won many hearts.

Eddie The Eagle is a feel-good movie which sends out the message that everything is possible with the right mindset. Go chase your dreams because at the end of the day who cares if you fail? As Pierre de Coubertin said, “the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well!”

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