Michael Edwards, better known as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, was born in Cheltenham and has been our Patron ever since we set the charity up in 2017. Eddie learnt to ski at his local dry ski slope and quickly became an accomplished downhill skier, narrowly missing out on being selected for the Great Britain ski team at the 1984 Games.
To improve his chances of qualifying for the Calgary Olympics in 1988, he moved to Lake Placid in the US to train and enter races of a higher standard.
However, he quickly found himself short on funds. To realise his Olympic dream, he decided to switch to ski jumping for reasons of cost and easier qualification as there were no other British ski jumpers with whom to compete for a place.
Eddie began ski jumping under the watchful eye of John Viscome and Chuck Berghorn in Lake Placid, using Chuck’s old equipment. Eddie had to wear six pairs of socks to make the boots fit! He was also handicapped by his weight. At about 82 kg (181 lb), he was more than 9 kg (20 lb) heavier than the next heaviest competitor.
These were not the only challenges to overcome however. Without any form of financial support for training, Eddie worked as a plasterer and even slept in a disused Finnish hospital for a short time to save enough money to keep his Olympic dreams alive. Being very longsighted, Eddie also had to wear his high strength spectacles at all times. During ski jumps, his glasses often fogged to such an extent that he could not see!
Eddie first represented Great Britain at the 1987 World Championships and was ranked 55th in the world. This performance qualified him, as the sole British applicant, for the 1988 Winter Olympics. At that time, he was the British ski jumping record holder despite finishing last in the 70m and 90m events. Eddie has since become famous for personifying the Olympic spirit and for his determination to represent his country without any form of funding.
We are absolutely delighted to have Eddie as our patron and hugely grateful for all of his support. His approach and attitude towards sport and competition exactly personifies the objectives of CASS & Friends.