OT: Eddie the Eagle

Submitted by umhannon on January 21st, 2011 at 11:46 PM

I for one cherish the athletes of the 1980's. Bart Connor, Karch Kiraly, Norm Betts. On top of my list is Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards. HIs workman-like performances were, well, workman-like. His style? Fresh. Oh so fresh. His mustache? Oh yeah, his mustache. 



January 22nd, 2011 at 1:45 AM ^

A pretty BFD, right?  Now imagine that some joker from a country that has never fielded a sprinter decides to represent his country, and furthermore, he manages to get himself to be sent to the Games as an official contestant.

Oh, and (in a slight exaggeration), he has the speed of Rich Eisen.

Now this joker happens to be a card, and soon all of the press is following him around and ignoring Usain Bolt. Cheers for Eddie from the crowd dwarf those for Usain. Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Which, of course, only makes the situation all the more hilarious, and as appropriate for the Winter Games, the absurdity only snowballs. Most sports fans like me that couldn't name a single ski-jumper got a good laugh out of it. However, the serious ski-jumping community--I'm told there is one--was pissed. A result of the farce was the Eddie the Eagle Rule.

st barth

January 22nd, 2011 at 9:41 AM ^

Almost anybody can run a sprint.  But ski jumping takes some serious damn balls.

It looks easy enough on TV but really, you have to visit a ski jump in person to get a visceral sense of just how crazy it is.  You don't even have to climb the entire thing...just stand at the bottom (near the point where they launch themselves) look out over where they land and then look back up where they start.  Only a pack of drunken vikings could have ever dreamed up such insanity.  

No matter how poorly they perform, it's difficult not to have respect for the courage of all ski jumpers.


January 22nd, 2011 at 1:35 AM ^

He was basically a guy who wanted to go to the Olympics and wasn't nearly good enough in anything. He was OK as a downhill skiier but far from Olympic standard. But Great Britain didn't have any ski jumpers, so he adopted that as his sport and went as Britain's representative in the event. It was a fiasco. Even people who knew nothing about ski jumping (i.e. basically everyone outside maybe Finland and Norway) could see that his form was atrocious. But the media wove an "ordinary geek tastes his dream" narrative, and it caught on. The Jamaican bobsled team was at the same Olympics, and it seemed like 50% of the coverage was either them or Eddie. 

They changed the eligibility rules for the next winter Olympics to prevent this sort of thing.  


January 22nd, 2011 at 11:24 AM ^

Leave it to the blasted rules makers to squash dreams and snuff out these kind of human interest stories.  So what if some guy makes it to the Olympics and steals the imagination and interest of millions of people around the world?!

The serious athletes should probably make themselves more interesting if they want people to be more interested in them.


January 23rd, 2011 at 3:35 AM ^

was that the Jamaican bobsledders didn't "take over" the bobsledding events.  Sure, they got a ton of coverage as a novelty, but I don't remember thinking that their participation overshadowed the event itself. 

On the other hand, from my vantage point Eddie became bigger than the event itself.  And I enjoyed every bit of the circus.

Zone Left

January 22nd, 2011 at 12:14 AM ^

How about Jim Betts?  From "Bo's Lasting Lessons:"


I made only one exception for the black players. The day after my first team meeting, when I told everyone they’d better shave, Jim Betts came into my office to talk to me. “Coach, you’ve got to understand, for the black players, the mustache represents part of our heritage.”

“You have got to be kidding me.”

“No, Coach, I’m sincere.”

We went back and forth a few times, but Jimmy wasn’t budging — and what the hell did I know? I was from Barberton, Ohio.

The next day, I met with the team again. “It has come to my attention that the black players on this team feel they cannot with a good conscience shave their mustaches, because they feel it is part of their heritage.”

The Wolverine Blog explains...