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13 November 2014

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You are in: Gloucestershire > People > Profiles > Eddie the Eagle: 20 Years On

Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards

Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards in 1988

Eddie the Eagle: 20 Years On

It's over 20 years since ski-jumper Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards soared to glorious failure at the 1988 Winter Olympics. But what's he up to now? We catch up with the Cheltenham hero.

"Now I'm 44 but I can remember it like it was yesterday."

Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards

Over twenty years ago, February 13th 1988, the Winter Olympic torch was lit in Calgary, Canada, and two decades ago the Winter Olympics weren't really that keenly anticipated in the UK. 

However the 1988 Winter Olympics broke the mould and was unlike any other Olympics since - due to a Jamaican Bobsleigh team and a man in milk bottle glasses from Cheltenham. 

Eddie Edwards plastering

Eddie in 2008 now working as a plasterer

Plasterer Michael Edwards was going to become the first competitor to represent the UK in Olympic ski jumping. 16 days later Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards was a world famous celebrity... and he still is! 

BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Steve Kitchen has been looking back on the events of two decades ago with Eddie, who now lives in the Stroud Valleys and earns a living as a plasterer.

Eddie told Steve it doesn't feel like 20 years ago since he hit the headlines: "No it doesn't - I can't believe it. I was 24 when I went to Calgary in 1988 and now I'm 44 but I can remember it like it was yesterday."

Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards ski jumping

The Eagle in action in 1988

After the 1988 Winter Olympics came all the showbiz trappings. Eddie said: "I did things I thought I'd never get chance to do."

"I sung a few records, opened nightclubs... I did loads of TV and radio work all over the world - travelling by private jet and helicopter from one job to the next. It was great."

"And the attention from these beautiful women who two weeks before Calgary wouldn't have even noticed me. It was amazing."

Click on the links above to listen to the full two-part interview with Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards interviewed by Steve Kitchen in February 2008.

last updated: 12/02/2010 at 09:10
created: 13/02/2008

Have Your Say

Is Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards a Hero or a Zero? Why do we still remember him 20 years on even though he came last?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

GJM FIGURINES
good old eddie

Dr Derrick Norbert Morris
Eddy was inspirational. Was he the first Ski Jumper? He gave his best-that's what counts!

Biram Chapman
A true hero. Even 10 years later when I met him in Lake Placid (no media spotlight and certainly not searching it out, no corporate sponsorships) he was a gracious Olmpic amatuer practicing at his own expense to try to make the next Games. 20 years ago and the day he spent with my wife and I at Lake Placid will always make Eddie a true hero.(Vidalia, Georgia, USA)

larry and melissa marak
We cheered eddie on in that freezing bowl where he ski jumped 20 years ago. He's still a hero.

Kim Swenson
YOU are what the OLYMIPCS are made up of....You won, that is all I remember.

L MAGEE
HI EDDIE i hope alls well with you and your family.You were amazing to get to where you did ,without any help.It was the finest thing i had ever seen watching you compete with all the others ---YOU---were definately the winner.all the best Lynda

Mat
HERO HERO HERO!!!!!!!!!!

Barbara Hollis
"Hero" deffinately. He showed how anyone can achieve with determination.God Bless Him!

alan arnold
hey he is great my hero he ca plaster my walls any day haha na happy memorys of eddie cheer m8

mike
b4 he jumped he was allright as a dry ski sloper prowling the rollers of gloucester.regards from pontypool eddy

glen taylor
i met him last sat as he was stuck at a train station i had a great conversation with him until i helped him on the bus not only a great jumper he was a great down hiller total respect

terry crowther
every body loves a hero eddy was that hero he did not win but a great try and a great character

PETER C WILLIAMS
He has a lot of guts. I respect that. Good for him!!

Rob Falconer
Eddie embodies the real spirit of the Olympics - the greatest Olympian ever!

Robert Arnold
A hero.A heart warming story.Hope to see a film made soon

Bulldog
In my lifetime I have seen many things, the space race and landing on the moon, the invention of the internet, the Berlin wall coming down, But undoutable one of the most remarkable was a man who defied the rule that says , 'you never remember who came second', Eddie the eagle Edwards.

Tim B-S
A hero, I met up with Eddie a year before the Olympics on a ski trip to Meribel and shared a room with him. He was an absolute laugh to be with and a great skier, in fact during the week he skied with downhill skis as he had previous training in downhill events. What many people do not realize is just how difficult ski jumping is and most international competitors start training at a very young age, Eddie only had a couple of years training. I really think that he did extremely well and displayed true sportsmanship and showed that it's not all about winning but the taking part.

bobdog
absolute hero

Emanuele Liantonio
Eddie is a hero, ofcourse. He is a great human being and he has thought a lot to the world. He made milions of people dream and smile. How would he be a zero?

toby Stewart
eddie actually enjoyed the sport whilst countless sat and watched it. And because he was willing to have a go, countless "serious" sports people felt he mocked them. Hero.

Bill Yates
A hero with lots of guts

anto
theres only 1 eddie edwards theres only 1 eddie edwardswere here in portugal and talking about great olypeaons and this man as to go down as 1 of GBs greatest cheers eddie for the great times . anto portugal

Chris Stroud-USA
I watched those Games, as I do every Games. Pure and simple, the Olympics is far, far more than simple sport. My country has assisted in making a mockery of the Games with our professional basketball players ('Dream Team' my tail) and doping (Marion should be jailed), but people like Eddie the Eagle and Eric Moussambani are part of what make the Games transcend normal sport. For the vast majority of these athletes, the future holds no fame, no fortune, no recognition, even in their home countries. Thousands of them will never get endorsements or even a ten minute TV interview. Let me ask Britons who bash Edwards this simple question: Exactly who was it that stood on that tower with almost NO support behind him and gave it everything he had? Was it you? No. He WAS inspirational, he WAS exceptional. You who criticize, no one's calling you to compete. No one is EVER going to call you. It must be nice to sit in your armchairs and talk about how poorly he did. Let's see one of you in London in 2012 or even on the K-90 in Vancouver in 2010. Simply put critics, go back to your pints, and drool over the remote.

malc jeffries
he tried when no other english man would i remmember it well, brilliant effort, lets get another eddie in there com on.

Bob
hero, well done Eddie

bluelabelwatty
i remember they were thinking of not letting him jump due to high winds and inexperience, glad he did a down to earth genuine person and an isperation to us all

Jenny
I think he was definately a hero in my eyeshe is definately my inspirers

Darwin
I remember Eddie quite well. I'm sure he's been an inspiration to many people.

mark
Many people will ski jump in their lives-but not many will ever fly. Eddie flew alright.

Corey Chippendale
I think Edward Edwards was a poor influence on the young and impressionable. There he was pretending that it was ok to use his superstar status to dress up as an eagle and get into the Olympics. Does anyone agree that he just did all this to impress the birds?

Anna Sanders
The heroics of this great man are astounding. If only the human rights movement has recuited Eddie, I'm sure he could have made a flight where he flew over crowds & grabbed the Olympic torch depite its brutal guardians. That would've been great!

Danielle Wheatley
Agreed Kevin. He really was a "have a go" hero and I can vouch for that. He really does give a good jump and has stamina too. HERO

Lynn Edwards
Does anyone else realise that not only was Eddie an Olympic hero? He was also a Love God.

Kevin Crinks
He was wonderful. Never a medallist, but a true "have a go" person in the spirit of the Olympics

Mary
I used to be a bit of a stalker of Eddies. I have 42 of his autographs from him including one on my chest which I had tattooed on. My head says "hero" but my heart says "Addonnis"

andrew
i wasnt born when he was jumping but i did meet him and the storys he told about his time there and what he did was true insirational. i would love to get on a pair of skiis and do what he done but i never found out how he got involved with it all and how he managed to get there

Crispin
20 years ago I was mentally ill according to the medics. Day was dark and night was darker. Then I started following Eddie the Eagle and things got better and better.He taught me courage.It turns out the medics now say I'm "bi-polar" (mood swings).Regardless of the men in white coats it was Eaglemania (and Iggy Pop) which gave me a lust for life. Since then I have met a woman and had three kids by her. My eldest is named Eddie and my youngest has the middle name Eagle. For me Eddie is a class 'A' hero! Anyone who sees him as a zero has forgotten the olympic motto.... "It's not the winning, it's the taking part".Thanks Eddie.

Andrew, Worcs
I'd much rather the contribution of the Eagle to the Olympic ideal, than that of Marion Jones - nuff said.

Big_Jurgen
To David MadineSo what sports do our colonials on the other side of the Atlantic "excel" at which are actually played by sports in other countries? World Series baseball - they have that in my local village - it's called rounders by other people in the same county. I see GWB's short-sightedness has been leaked into the water supply . . .

Day Dream Believer
Hero. I remember seeing the footage of Eddie with the paraplegic ski jumpers. It was a toss up to work out who was the bravest. Imagine jumping off those ramps with skis strapped onto the wheelchair. It certainly looked daring but Eddie being the type of guy he his climbed in and had a go.Three cheers for the Eagle!!

john baker
I remember him mainly because he is still the greatest British Ski Jumper ever!

Jeremy
well it's all about the Olympic spirit, trying your best even if that's not good enough.All very well laughing / scoffing at him .. but how many people would launch themselves off a ramp ?Brave lad.BTW, the Jamaicans have their own film "Cool Running" .. when will they do a film on Eddie ?!

paul bennet
Hero. I like a good jump as much as the next man but that Eagle goes places I'm afraid to. Such valour deserves salutations!

Doug Fulcher
He's a brave man and he did his best and that's all a man can do. Personally I would not want to go to the top of that tall platform let alone jump off. Brilliant!.

iForeigner
If Mr. Blobby gets to number one in the pop music charts, Jade Goody becomes a huge "zelebrity" with all her stupidity, why wouldn't Eddie Edwards be a British hero? Are this signs of success - or failure. I am afraid success they aren't...

guy williams
Did they name the Eagle Star after him? I think they must have done. Well done Eddie, that's a real honour!

Paul Richmond
I believe he is somewhat of an hero, i don't think any other Brit would have had the nerve to go and do what he did. Long to soar the EAGLE

Tom
Where did he learn to jump? and where did he live? Amazing!

Jake
'I was brought up to believe that winning was not the be all and end all - taking part was what mattered.'Malcolm - that is exactly why Britain has a dearth of success in international sport. We support the losers not the winners!

Jake
He is not a hero! It is such a British thing to love a glourious failer! Sebastien Coe, Jonny Wilkinson, Ian Botham - they are all heroes! Eddie is man who had balls and huge personality, but please, if he is a hero who inspires countless children then we are doomed to huge future sporting failure!

Eaglemaniac
I bet he carts his gonads around in a wheelbarrow. You need big balls to do those jumps.

Mark Jones
Hero; Last week I stood at the top gate of the big skijump hill in Lillehammer and there is no way i would even sit on the start gate never mind launch myself off the end on a pair of skis. Eddie embodied the spirit of the true Olympian. Richard Claybourne should be ashamed of his comments that 'Britain doesn't need any more Eddie the Eagles'. Does anyone remember who won the jump?

Bubba
He is to athletes what fast food is to real cooking. No wonder everyone, especially the media, flock to him. You can have him GB, i'll go elsewhere for my meal.

Munter the Grunter
I have a huge amount of admiration for this brave young Eagle. It takes real courage to appear on TV with glasses like those.

Matt O;Brien
Hero it took a lot of courage to do what he did and to keep smiling when your loosing by so much.

mike campbell
i remember his efforts and he did represent gb. last so what he was there and he jumped ,it takes guts, ever looked down a ski jump?

marjie williams
cheeky chirpy chappie

Jamie
To dave madine - That's pretty rich coming from a native of the country that declared Vietnam "a successful failure" ROFLMAO anyway Eddie is a hero and I bet you couldn't do what he did.

Chris
What upsets me about this story is not that Eddie has had a fuss made of him, but that the same olympics one of our best winter sportsmen won 2 gold in the demonstration sport of short track - Wilf O'Riley. Is it any wonder that the brits only excel in mediocrity when true success is ignored.

Mark
Zero. What annoys me about the selection process is that people like the Eagle and the Eel (Sydney 2000) get to go to the Olympics without being good at a sport. Athletes from other countries train for 4 years to make it and miss out by 0.001 of a second and these people take their place because of quotas. Its embarrassing to all talented athletes who strive to win.

Mike White
He’s a hero - He was a breath of fresh air in the staid British Ski team of the time made up of people called Rupert and Charlotte from Epson . Didn’t they ban him afterwards from representing GB -says it all really Long live Eddie

James Gray
The legend of Eddie the Eagle will live forever....I look like him too!

Neill.
An absolute HERO.

Brian
Eddie is a hero, since he came on the scene in '88, the olympics have been nothing but doping and Professionals competing in an amateur event, eddie is a true olympic athlete.(calgary)

Chris Fisher
I have only read one comment suggesting that Eddie was a zero - to most he is a hero because he jumped not to win, but to take part and do the best he could. Presumably he met the mininimum requirements for entry so he was no slouch, just not the best - a true olympian in my opinion.

JOHN FARMER
I HAVE VISTITED THE SKI JUMP AT LAKE PLACID. I WOULDN'T JUMP OFF IT WITH A PARACHUTE. NO OTHER BRIT HAS DONE WHAT HE DID. ONE SMALL LEAP FOR EDDIE, ONE GIANT LEAP FOT BRIT KIND.

Jill Wootton
Eddie was a true hero. He tackled ski jumping in the true spirit of what the olympics is all about.

Normaniax
He was definitely a hero.We really do miss you Eddie !Greetings from Norway ..

Malcolm Sargent
I was brought up to believe that winning was not the be all and end all - taking part was what mattered. Someone comes last in every event but Eddie had the courage to participate even in the knowledge that he probably would come last. Calgary, quite rightly, still celebrates him and has invited him back to celebrate the 20th anniversary of those Winter Olympics of 1988. Today, we miss these great characters that add so much colour to life.

Mike Lewis Worcester
I met Eddie the Eagle a long time ago to td with children in need and i asked him about hif first jump and what was that like he replyed "it was all to do with a girl called Sara if you now what i mean" he is a real HERO of mine and he did alot for winter sports. If you dont agree go stand at the top of a ski jump and rethink it.If i needed some plastering done that would be the man.

Marcus Cummins
As a fellow racer 20 years ago... I know Eddie is a complete star. If you've got the bottle to go off one of those jumps, you can do anything. Along with a great down to earth personality... what a great bloke!

David Elphick
Yes, of course he's a hero! He was exactly what the Olympics should be all about...the taking part, the spirit of amateurism, etc. If only it were like this more of the time; I'm sick of all the cheating, drug scandals and bad sportsmanship...

Finglish
Eddie is one of the few englishmen that Finns talk about with affection. I personally think he deserves credit for having the balls to fail and keep trying.

Mike Tank
What a hero! In true spirit & absolute valour. Braver even than our fearless cheese-rollers! He would raise a cheer from us whenever he drove past the pub. I'd back up Alan S & add To anyone who regards him as anything but a hero I suggest that they go and say so in a Cheltenham pub. I read about him on the front page of The Bangkok Post - they loved him there too. A Great Briton.

NorManiax
Let The Eagle fly ..We really miss you !Greetings from Norway

bearfraser
hero,at least he tried ,wasn,t overpaid or hopefully not on drugs. unlike some sprinters or footballers out there now !!

stu woodvine
i stood at the bottom of the holmenkollen ski jump in norway last month and anyone who jumps off those things is a hero in my opinion. anyone who disagrees must never have seen a real ski jump.the tv just does not give any impression how awesome ajump is.at least he had the guts to have a go.well done eddie..

Dave Fallows
Eddie was an absolute hero because he had the nerve to try - where are all the other British ski jumpers - so far as I recall, he held the British record - for all I know he still holds it - so Eddie was Britain's best - no-one who can't do any bwetter can criticise that!

Sirkku Siivonen
My home town Lahti in Finland is where many of our "Eagles" come from. We did and still respect Edwards as a hero, he did what he did, coming from a country with no history or tradition of winter sports.

Neil Hamilton
Hero - having seen the ski jumps at Calgary - anyone who is preppared to launch themselves off those jumps has got to be a hero

dave madine
this in another typical british "loser" story. the guy goes to the olympics and embarasses himself yet you british treat him like a hero. it's reasons like this why GB doesn't make an indentation in global sport, save 1 or two, e.g. track cycling.people should want to be the best and WIN, not be content on being a "heroic" failure.

Duke Theedam
fair play to him (you)..more bottle than most...incidentally, I need a plasterer...got much work on ?

Danny Baker
Niether one or the other. He was courageous to give it a go and he enjoyed himself and most people enjoyed watching him. I thought he was great myself. Thanks for the memories Eddie and good luck.

RISHI RISH
true legend

Bandit
Bring it on....take out of life what you can-whatever else the guy had bottle....

william williams
should the england soccer team have the same guts with out paying them big money.play just to wear the shirt.

Cynthia Biggs
Eddie showed us all the true spirit of the Olympics.We still talk about it. (Hamilton Canada)

Also Eddie Edwards
I am also Eddie Edwards in the USA. I followed Eddie in the news media as he made his attempt. I still think he is a hero to the people of the UK.

Christopher Parker
What the triple "E" did was fantastic. He took the world by storm. Many people could see him as a zero cause he didn't win anything however he brought the great country of England a fantastic memory. Hail the triple "E"!! I want to be Cheltnems second hero leading us to gold on the ice in the hockey!!!!!!

Alan Smith
To anyone who regards him as anything but a hero I suggest that they go and stand at the top of one of the ski-jumps as we have done in Garmisch.

Bev Nash (USA)
Eddie was probably one of the last "Chariots of Fire" characters in the good old British tradition. I always thought it was sad that he was laughed at when most guys would have chickened out of just standing on top of that jump, let along going down the thing! He was fearless, unpretentious, and had an innocence so much lacking in today's over paid and over rated sportsmen.

Martin Reese
I lived next door to him in St. Paul's Street North. I thought his escapades were fantastic and I'm still mad with the Olympic authorities for changing the rules. He is a breath of fresh air.

Howard "Big H" Smith
My memories of Eddie include the time he broke his leg and ended up in Cheltenham General. My mate and I got all dressed up in our most ridiculous clothes including red crocodile skin winkle pickers and skin tight jeans and went to pay him a visit at the Hospital. We had wretched hangovers at the time.On the way there we even picked him some flowers from someone's garden. Imagine our disappointment when the nurses told us he had been discharged the day before. We ditched the flowers and went for a hair of the dog instead. Since that day I have been a great Eddie the Eagle fan.

Helen
Because he tried!

Frank The Rank
I remember that Eddie staring me out 20 years ago at The Brewery Tap. I wish I'd had the wit & courage to say something clever like, "You're heading for a fall"

gary greenhouse
I model myself on Eddie. I manually receed my own hair and go out with unnecessary glasses and jump off things when I'm drunk. I even support Crystal Palace because their nickname is....you've guessed it..... THE EAGLES!!!!!

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