Probably it has happened for each of us to deal with obstacles which were though to be insurmountable. Nevertheless, there are some people who are not used to give up so easily, even if difficulties seem to be endless.
Michael Edwards, even called “Eddie the Eagle”, knows what we mean. He has been the first British athlete to partecipate to a Olympic ski jumping since 1928.
He has begun to dream about Olympic Games since he was 13, but his social background was not well-to-do enough to allow him to practice ski sports; furthermore, unfortunately he was born in a country marked by the lack of traditional skii history, in which seemed to be impossibile the dream could come true.
Moreover, Edward was conscious of his disadvantaged condition: he was affected by hypermetropia, which forced him to use thick glasses all the time; again he weighted about 10 kg more than the average of his opponents; at last, his formation was supported only by his financial efforts.
In spite of the several difficulties, he started to train, having an incredibile sense of confidence, in an artificial ski track based on the Gloucester hill.
When he was 24 Calgary’s Olympic Games were already in his thoughts, so he decided to move from England to Lake Placid in U.S.A. preferring trying ski jump as to increase his possibilities to partecipate to the dream competition counting on the fact that no one British has not been involved in this sport for over 60 years.
Taking the advantage of the International Olympic Committee’s regulation, which at that time it guaranteed every country the possibility to register at least one representative in each competition, Eddie learned the ski jump’s bases in view of the following Canadian Olympic Games.
Lastly, without the indispensable funds, the necessary equipments and a prepared coach, he managed to get the Olympic convocation for the 1988 Winter Games. Taking part to K70 and K90 races, he ranked last getting a great distance from the penultimate position in both competitions.
His perseverance didn’t go unnoticed and he became quickly a TV star getting the public sympathy on his side: Ronald Reagan himself is told to have interrupted an important meeting as to watch a Edward’s race. Furthermore, having earned the nickname of “The Eagle” because of the strange way of jumping, he could not recognize himself in the figure of a fearful athlete, described by the press version:
“They said I was afraid of heights. But I was doing sixty jumps a day then, which is hardly something someone who was afraid of heights would do.”
However, in order to prevent the “Eddie the Eagle” phenomenon from happening again, the International Olympic Committee set up, after the Calgary Olympics, the “Eddie the Eagle Rule”, according to which the aspiring Olympic athletes must have already participated in other international competitions, classifying in 30% of the best athletes or among the first 50.
Despite of the final epilogue, the myth of Eddie The Eagle has been considered so much surpassing in sports history to be told by a recent film called Eddie the Eagle.
Eddie The Eagle’s story teaches that the strength of dreams can be such a powerful tool to overcome any obstacle in life.
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