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Eddie the Eagle Not Accurate, But Still Soars High

by Kevin Saez

It’s hard not to fall in love with an incredible story about a man who dreamed his entire life of competing in the Olympics and who never gave up, despite a lack of athleticism. Michael “Eddie” Edwards captured the world’s attention at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary for being his quirky, determined self. As Great Britain’s only ski jumper, Edwards found a way to represent his country and achieve his dream. Now, Edwards’ unlikely true story will live on through the new film, “Eddie the Eagle.”

Loosely based on the true story, “Eddie the Eagle” follows Edwards’ journey from amateur athlete to Olympic competitor. Edwards, portrayed by Taron Egerton, was a downhill skier on the British national team, but was the final athlete cut from the 1984 Olympic team. Still set on competing in the Olympics, Eddie set out to find a new, more affordable sport. He happened across ski jumping, realizing that his country had neither a team nor a jumper. He enlisted the help of an unwilling coach, portrayed by Hugh Jackman, and crashed his way to British records.

How he eventually made it to the Olympics is unreal. Edward started jumping at age 22, when most jumpers start the sport at age 5 or 6. By competing in the European ski jumping circuit, he completed a qualifying jump that would allow him to compete in the Olympics. He was nowhere near as good as his competitors and often finished in dead last.

At this point, I’m sure you are thinking how could this guy possibly have his own movie if he wasn’t even one of the top competitors in his sport? Edwards gained fame for his sheer will and never-give-up attitude. He never cared whether he finished in first or last. He only cared about competing and trying his best. He embodied the true spirit of sport and the Olympics, and he showed people what it truly means to be an Olympian. For this reason, Edwards is an inspiration for everyone to follow their dreams no matter how big they are. “Eddie the Eagle” is an inspirational story that everyone should see.

Eddie the Eagle flew into theaters on Feb. 26. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“Eddie the Eagle” flew into theaters on Feb. 26.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The film as a whole presents an unbelievable tale that will have you rooting for Edwards, even though he has no apparent shot of winning. The film is presented so well that it all appears to be the real story.

Upon some research, however, the film does not depict the true story very truthfully, which is disappointing. Edwards’ coach is a fictional character in the film. He trains mainly in Germany in the film, but he trained in the United States in real life. Edwards worked many odd-ball jobs to make some money throughout his training, but only worked here and there at a bar in the film. His road to the Olympics was also more treacherous and difficult than the film depicted.

Reading about the disparity in truth after seeing the film gives it less credibility. However, the film as a whole is heartwarming, endearing and a features a true display of bravery. You would never know that Edwards’ story was anything different than what happened in the film, but it at least got the main points correct.

“Eddie the Eagle” is an underdog story that will capture the hearts of the audience, just as the real events did in 1988. The film has a lesson that everyone needs to learn: how to be resilient and determined to do whatever you want in life despite having all odds against you.

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