Rounding up a month of European premiers, the hugely anticipated “Eddie the Eagle’ movie will hit UK cinemas today. On the eve of the London premier earlier this month, a special VIP pre-screening of the film was held for the winter sports community, at The Soho Hotel in London’s West End. The film was introduced to the audience by “Eddie the Eagle” himself and was concluded with an intimate and insightful Q&A lead by former British Alpine Skier, Konrad Bartelski.
Attending the evening, our own Clare Meany (PR & Marketing Manager) was amongst many prominent industry faces and shares her take on Dexter Fletcher’s direction of Eddie’s Story.
“The film was fantastic. Eddie is just like he is in real life. Taron Egerton plays his part superbly – you almost think it’s him! If you love skiing and love Hugh Jackman you’ll love this!”
To mark this event and celebrate the films launch, the ski brand Atomic, who sponsored at the 1988 Calgary Games have created 6 pairs of limited edition ARC skis. Signed by the man himself, the skis represent the original skis Eddie wore at the games. Whilst one pair was presented to Eddie at the industry premier and another won by a lucky attendee, the rest have been won through public competitions. As the movie launches today, Telegraph Ski and Snowboard have teamed up with Atomic with an exclusive competition to give away the final pair.
For those of you not old enough to remember, Michael Edwards (AKA “Eddie the Eagle”) was the unlikely athlete who become the first participant to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping, competing at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta. Finishing last in his two events, Eddie was recognised not so much for his skiing but rather his heroic failings and inspirational defiance.
The story is a kind of British style Cooling Runnings; A heart-warming biography where success is marked not by the acquisition of Medal but the journey of getting to the Olympic games. From the young aspirations of Michael Edwards as a particularly awkward young boy, the plot follows the realisation of his childhood dream to become an Olympic athlete. Hilariously bumbling clumsily from one sport to the next, Eddie developed as a good downhill skier, narrowly missing to qualify for the GB team at the 1984 games. Given Eddie was self-funded and that it was easier to qualify for ski jumping, Eddie’s decision to fix his sights on a new discipline was a tactical one. Yet this decision was not welcomed warmly by the ski jumping community and Eddie’s presence divided public opinion like marmite and many believed he made a mockery of the sport. For the sake of a good story, Eddie forges a relationship with the fictional ex pro Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman). Persuading him to be his coach. The ostracised duo take on the big dogs in a comical outplay of events which eventually land Eddie on top of a jump to compete in the 1988 Calgary games.
However unlikely a competitor Eddie may of been, it is hard to deny his worthy place on the olympic stage. His fearless perseverance and never say die attitude is a pin up for what is meant by “Olympic Spirit”. In fact, in response to the “Edwards phenomenon”, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced a sanction known as the ‘Eddie the Eagle Rule’, giving Olympic hopefuls the opportunity to compete.
Amidst the all the laughs this movie powerful demonstrates how the glory of winning is usually not at the heart of inspiration. What inspires us is the human story and the self belief of an underdog who will courageously fight for their dream against all odds. After all, the names of those who won gold, silver and bronze in the ski jump at the Calgary Games maybe marked in records books for years to come, yet it is “Eddie the Eagle” that resonates as a household name.
So in the aftermath of storm Katie, lighten up a pretty gloomy Easter Monday with a bucket of popcorn and laugh, cry and fall in love with ‘Eddie the Eagle’.