|REEL FACE:||REAL FACE:|
Born: November 10, 1989
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, UK
Michael "Eddie the Eagle" Edwards
Born: December 5, 1963
Birthplace: Cheltenham, England, UK
Born: March 12, 1972
Oldham, Lancashire, England, UK
Born: September 2, 1953
Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK
No. In researching the Eddie the Eagle true story, we learned that washed up former ski jumper Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), who becomes Eddie's coach in the movie, is an almost entirely fictional character. In the film, it is revealed that the ex-pat American Peary could have been great if ego and alcohol hadn't got in the way. In real life, Eddie learned how to ski jump in Lake Placid under the instruction of two Americans, John Viscome and Chuck Berghorn. Eddie the Eagle screenwriter Sean Macauly told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that Jackman's character was inspired by a few of the coaches who taught Eddie, but indicated there was no direct correlation to any single coach.
Not exactly. However, he was a fearless child who always found himself paying the price for his bravery. At 10, his kamikaze-style moves as a soccer goalie (which included launching himself at the cleated shoes of rushing opponents) left him with damaged cartilage in his left knee. As a result, he was in plaster casts for the next three years (Sports Illustrated). He learned to ski when he was 13 and found himself skiing on the British national team four years later (PopSugar.com).
No, the real Eddie has a sister, Liz, who is two years younger. In 2007, he helped to save her life by donating his bone marrow to her when she was battling Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Yes. Though it's not shown in the film, while fact-checking the Eddie the Eagle movie, we discovered that to save money on lodging, Eddie found bargain accommodations at a Finnish mental hospital for one pound a night. It was while staying there that Eddie found out he had qualified for the British Olympic Team. Later, his critics would joke that the asylum was fittingly appropriate. -People.com
In order to earn money as he trained, Eddie worked part-time jobs, including mowing lawns, babysitting, working in hotels and cooking. He traveled the European ski circuit in his mother's car and used a helmet given to him by the Italians and skis from the Austrian team (in the movie, Hugh Jackman's character pillages a lost and found to find better equipment for Eddie). He wore six pairs of socks to fit into his hand-me-down boots. When he broke his jaw, instead of paying to be treated at a hospital, he tied it up with a pillowcase and went about his business. -The Guardian
No. His real name is Michael Edwards. As stated above, fans gave him the nickname Eddie the Eagle when he arrived for the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.
Yes. When he arrived in Calgary for the Olympics, he attempted to exit the airport toward fans who were holding up a banner outside. "I walked towards [the banner] but the automatic doors had been turned off, so I walked into the glass and my skis bounced off the doors, everything broke and I became Mr. Magoo." -The Guardian
Yes. Eddie the Eagle finished last in all three of his jumps at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, but he did manage to beat his own personal record. More importantly, he survived the events and avoided serious injury. "You have captured our hearts. And some of you have soared like eagles," remarked Frank King, the games' chief executive, during a speech at the closing ceremonies. -People.com
No, like Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), Warren Sharp is a fictional character. In the Eddie the Eagle movie, Sharp is the U.S. Ski Team coach who had kicked Peary off the team for breaking the rules and being a daredevil.
Yes. This part of the movie is perhaps the most accurate. Despite Eddie's lack of athletic ability, the media and viewers at home were drawn to him, feeling a sense of kinship because, like many of them, Eddie was just an average guy. "I think I was exemplifying that whole Olympic spirit - a true amateur sportsman coming to a sporting event just because he loved his sport and loved doing it," says Eddie (Yahoo! Sports). As in the movie, this bothered the athletes who had been training since they were 5 or 6. Many of them indeed felt that Eddie didn't deserve to be there.
In researching the true story behind Eddie the Eagle, we learned that the 1988 Olympics opened doors to numerous endorsement deals and appearances, including an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. According to Eddie, he netted between 500,000 and 600,000 pounds in 1988. Just four years later, he would declare for bankruptcy, citing that his money had been mismanaged. A former plasterer, Eddie returned to construction work, but he soon found a steady flow of motivational speaking appearances and lectures coming his way. He eventually sold the movie rights to his life story. Over the years, Eddie became part of British folklore, the heroic failure who never gave up on his dream. -People.com
No. As stated in the movie, the entrance rules for the Olympic Ski Jump Competition had not been updated for 52 years. However, in 1990, stricter qualification rules were imposed, making it nearly impossible for Eddie the Eagles of the world to ever make the Olympics again. Despite trying to qualify for future Olympics, Eddie would never return. -People.com
Meet the real Eddie the Eagle via the interviews and ski jumping videos below.