If you're a fan of winter sports, you might appreciate the upcoming film Eddie the Eagle. The movie tells the story of an underdog downhill skiier named Eddie Edwards who becomes to first man to represent England in ski jumping at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. The description sounds pretty satirical, but ski jumping is an actual Olympic sport and Britain does in fact participate in the event. So actually, the movie's narrative isn't totally made up — Eddie the Eagle is a true story, at least in most regards.
The new movie, out Feb. 26, is based on a real life-skier (Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards), but the film isn't just a nonfiction account of his story. In fact, Edwards revealed to BBC News that only about 5% of the movie is actually true. Case in point: Hugh Jackman has a large supporting role as Bronson Peary, an affable former ski jumper who becomes Edwards' coach... but the character of Peary is entirely made up. It might do, then, to say that the film is inspired by true events. So before you go see it, here are some things to know about the real skier named Eddie Edwards and his journey to the top.
Eddie Edwards Isn't His Real Name
The skier's real name is actually the less-alliterative Michael Edwards. People reported that Edwards' nickname first came to be when he was greeted in Canada by fans holding a ban that read "Welcome to Calgary, Eddie The Eagle."
He Became A Ski Jumper Because Of Money Issues
Edwards had previously been a downhill skier, but the costs for the sport were high and he decided he needed to find "something cheaper to do," according to an interview with The Guardian. Still, money was tight, and Edwards often had to make do with secondhand equipment. Nevertheless, he pressed on.
He Grew Into An Underdog Icon
Although Edwards did not succeed in qualifying for any subsequent Olympic games after his stint in Calgary, his stick-to-itiveness was an inspiration to people around the globe. Plenty of "Eddie the Eagle" paraphernalia was made, and he even got a sponsorship deal with Eagle airlines. He also recorded a few songs, and now appears on reality TV shows in addition to touring as a lecturer and motivational speaker.
There May Be More Media To Come
Eddie The Eagle is finally being made 18 the years after the rights were being obtained, and it may not be the last time that the skier's story is told. In December, Edwards told BBC News that both a book and documentary about his life were in the works, which would retell his story in a more factual light.
Edwards has received plenty of flack over the years for his lack of pure athleticism, but he's definitely getting the last laugh in the form of a biopic. Even if Eddie the Eagle isn't totally faithful to the actual events, it tells Edwards' underdog story in a way that is sure to strike a chord with viewers.
Image: 20th Century Fox