When we talk about the Olympic Games, the elite sports world comes to mind. And this is the sporting event par excellence that, as its motto says, brings together those who are "faster, higher, stronger". However, every 4 years and away from the podiums we also see moving stories of overcoming that win the hearts of millions. This was the case of the British Michael "Eddie" Edwards, who won millions in the 1988 Winter Olympics. This is the story of the worst jumper in history.
Eddie was a decent and short-sighted skier since childhood, however in 1985 he decided that he wanted to be one of those bird men who jumped dozens of meters from the ground at the Olympic Games. He had not really achieved something important in his life, however his obstinacy was the engine that led him to achieve his dreams.
But his way would not be easy. After attending a training center in Switzerland and learning the basics of jumping, Edwards applied for a license to the British Olympic Committee. The leaders established the 70 meters, which was the British record dating back to the 1920s, to get their Olympic passport and represent Britain at the Games.
In 1987, only 2 years after starting, he participated in the World Championship which did not require minimum distances to participate. Eddie for obvious reasons was last, but what really matters to him is that he managed to jump 69.5 meters, just enough to fulfill his dream of participating in the Olympic Games.
But the obstacles did not end there. He was invited to Finland by the Finnish team to train with them, as it was the only place where he could do it for free. There he suffered a spectacular accident that forced him to be hospitalized for a month.
Another problem for Eddie was the money for the transfer and the equipment necessary to practice the sport. He had to babysit, cut grass or wash dishes in a hotel to be able to afford the trip to Calgary (Canada), the city where the 1988 Winter Olympics would take place. He also had to assemble his equipment based on borrowed material: Austrian team lent him the skis, the Italians the helmet and for the borrowed boots he had left he had to put on 6 pairs of socks.
Finally everything was ready to start his Olympic adventure. Thanks to his participation in the World Jumping Championship in 1987, his story had already been known. As soon as he landed in Calgary, Canadian television was waiting for him with a banner reading "Welcome Eddie The Eagle."
Many labeled him a "clown" or a dishonor, but Eddie defended his philosophy that "the Games were not just for winners." When it was time for his debut and appeared on the exit ramp, the audience began to chant like crazy his name. That is undoubtedly the most memorable moment of those 1988 Games.
The truth is that Eddie was already a star and nobody could stop his dream. Participated in the short ramp and the long ramp; and despite not having any experience in the latter, managed to take a jump of 71 meters, breaking the British record. In both categories was relegated to the last positions, only ahead of those who did not show up and 15 meters below the worst jump of their rivals. But none of this mattered, because he had already left his mark in Olympism as a nice loser who managed to fulfill his dreams.
The rules changed and the International Olympic Committee started asking for a minimum distance to qualify, so Eddie never participated again. However, he won the hearts of millions of people and managed to write a funny and curious chapter in the history of sports.