2016 is a Summer Olympics year, but the Winter games will also get some screentime with the release of Eddie The Eagle on Feb 26. The biopic of Eddie Edwards, the first ski jumper to represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games, stars Kingsman Secret Service actor Taron Egerton as Edwards and Hugh Jackman as his coach, Bronson Peary. It's an underdog tale that's been in development limbo for years; BBC News first reported on the film in 2007. Edwards is already a sort of folk hero in his home country; the film version of his story will introduce a wider and younger audience to the perseverance and lack of advantages that endeared an entire nation to the athlete. So where is Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards now? (Spoilers ahead if you'd prefer not to learn how he places before you see the film.)
Well, you normally wouldn't expect an Olympic athlete who came in last in both of his events to retain any kind of fame. But his attempts and failures were what made Edwards a minor celebrity. Viewers loved the audacity of Edwards, who took himself to the Olympics on a technicality. He competed in the 1987 World Ski Jumping Championships after training in the U.S. It was no matter than he placed a dismal 55th; he was the only British entry, and thus the country's only hopeful in the sport. He didn't go home with any medals, but Edwards made an impression with his signature Coke-bottle glasses and his comparatively low level of skill. It says something about the spirit of Olympic competition that an athlete could be just as loved for his defeats as another could be for his successes.
Since the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Edwards hasn't shied away from the spotlight. Here are a few of the diverse activities at which he's tried his hand.
1. He Ran With The Olympic Torch
Edwards was invited to be one of the Torch bearers for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, proving that the Games themselves still remember him fondly.
2. He Recorded A Couple Of Singles In Finnish
He's just as good at singing as he is at ski jumping in an elite, international field. That means exactly what you think it means.
3. He Danced On A British Benefit Show
Edwards busted out a bossa nova in full Austin Powers regalia in support of the British charity, Sports Relief. The man has some rhythm, and the full swath of back-up dancers certainly doesn't hurt.
4. He Took A Dive With Tom Daley
Making appearances is mostly how Edwards keep busy these days, so no one was surprised to see him compete in the celebrity diving competition, Splash! Superstar Tom Daley joined him for a synchronized dive in the finale, but Edwards upstaged him with his sequined eagle-adorned speedo.
5. He Competed On A Celebrity Sports Challenge
Finally, Edwards showed off in the sport that made him famous when he served as the celebrity ski jumper in yet another reality competition show, The Jump. The opening package speaks to the half-sarcastic, half-reverential love the British have for Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, their best of the worst.
Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, okay skiier and all-around Renaissance man, gives losers a good name.