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Eddie the Eagle

Michael Edwards, better known as Eddie the Eagle, was born in Cheltenham in 1963. Although he started his career as a plasterer, it was when he switched to ski jumping that he made a name for himself.

Originally wanting to try his hand at skiing, Eddie realised that he didn't have the financial resources or skill to take this passion any further, so he turned to ski jumping instead. As a cheaper hobby with little competition, Eddie became the first person since 1928 to represent Great Britain in ski jumping in 1988. Although he became the British ski jumping record holder of 73.5m, Eddie was more famous for his defeats than his wins. In fact, at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, he came last in both the 70m and 90m events.

What made Eddie the Eagle so lovable was that, through his sense of humour, he never claimed to be any good at his sport. He also boasted a striking appearance - wearing thick-rimmed glasses under his goggles to combat farsightedness.

Eddie had to overcome financial struggles in his quest to compete and would often borrow equipment or improvise. He initially tied his helmet together with string, and at one event, the string snapped hurtling the helmet further than his jump. He later remarked that he was probably the only ski jumper to have been beaten by his equipment!

Although widely known as Eddie the Eagle, he also gained nicknames such as Fast Eddie, Slow Eddie, Unsteady Eddie, The Flying Plasterer and Mr Magoo. Despite his lovable image, he wasn't liked by everyone, and those who competed professionally in ski jumping insisted he made a mockery out of the sport. This led to stricter rules governing who could compete in ski jumping competitions. Once these rules came into force, the main one being that any Olympic hopefuls wanting to compete in international events had to be in the top 30% or top 50 competitors, Eddie didn't qualify for the 1992 and 1994 winter games.

Eddie the Eagle continued to make a name for himself long after his ski jumping career was over. He appeared on television, became a pop star in Finland, was sponsored by Eagle Airlines and was a regular at opening shopping malls. He even dressed up in a chicken suit to promote the Devon Tourist Bureau, after they failed to find an eagle costume.

Although Eddie never competed professionally again on the slopes, he returned to Calgary to take part in events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the games, and he was a torchbearer at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He also made it to the final of Let's Dance for Sport Relief in 2012 and commentated on the Channel 4 series, The Jump.

Despite the financial gains he made from his celebrity status, Eddie was declared bankrupt after setting up an ill-fated trust fund. This spurred him on to become a lawyer and he graduated from De Montfort University in Leicester with a degree.

A film chronicling the life of Eddie the Eagle was released in 2016, with Taron Egerton starring as the hapless ski jumper. Hugh Jackman took the role of Eddie's mentor and trainer, Bronson Peary.

To ensure you don't make any disastrous slips and slides on the slopes in Eddie the Eagle style, make use of Coruba's highly effective Circular Stud Coin Pattern Rubber Matting and Ground Stabilisation Mats.

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