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Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards - Olympic legend

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Uploaded on Jan 8, 2010

Eddie the Eagle Edwards was the first person from Great Britain to qualify for the Olympic Games in ski jumping.

While working as a plasterer back home, Edwards had to cross the Atlantic to train, due to the UKs lack of facilities andsnow. He began ski jumping in Lake Placid, New York (home of the 1980 Olympic Winter Games), with borrowed equipment that was much too big for him. He was fully self-funded, but that wasnt his greatest obstacle: Edwards is very short-sighted and had to wear glasses while competing, which was a problem when they fogged up and blocked his vision completely.

His unlikely story endeared him to fans at the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games and all over the world. He quickly became a celebrity and even today his name and story remain closely associated with the 1988 Games.

At the closing ceremony, he was singled out in a speech by the IOC president who said, At this Games some competitors have won gold, some have broken records and one has even flown like an eagle. At that moment, 100,000 people in the stadium roared, Eddie! Eddie! It was the first time in the history of the Games that an individual athlete had been mentioned in the closing speech.

After the 1988 Games, Edwards enjoyed a varied career in television and music, and in 2008 he returned to Calgary to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Games.

Edwards is carrying the Olympic Flame as part of the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay International Media Program, developed by VANOC in collaboration with the Canadian Tourism Commission, to spread the excitement and share the Olympic spirit with media and fans around the world.

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