Who else is excited about the upcoming film Eddie the Eagle
starring Hugh Jackman?
I was actually in Calgary for the Olympic Games in 1988. I was just 14
years old and I'd been to my very first winter Paralympic Games just six
weeks earlier. I finished 11th in the Giant Slalom which
earned me the very last spot on a list of 13 skiers in my LW2 class to
compete in a demonstration event at the Olympic Games.
Exciting times. I wore a borrowed uniform to march with the AustraIian
team in the opening ceremony and sat for hours, freezing in the stands,
with a cold wind at my back. That experience alone had a lasting effect:
ever since I've dreaded each and every winter opening ceremony.
My sister, my mum and I stayed at the Chateau Lake Louise and went ice
skating on the lake in the evenings. I ate potato skins and doughnuts
which seemed so exotic and perfectly designed for a 14 year old
boy. I came a very respectable 11th in the Giant Slalom.
Watching ski jumpers always takes my breath away. I've watched the sport
at some famous venues: the Bergeisel in Innsbruck, Austria; The
Hollmenkollbakken in Oslo, Norway; and in Calgary. I was way too busy
with preparation and racing and just having fun to take much notice of
Eddie while I was actually in Calgary but I soon learned all about
him. I also met him when he visited Australia's ski resorts on a
sponsored trip in 1991.
I didn't have much time for him as a 17 year old ski racer. I was a bit
dirty at everyone for the way they lauded Eddie the Eagle. Seriously, the
guy came last! I seemed to be the only one who could name Matti
Nykänen from Finland who actually won two ski jumping events at the
1988 Olympic Games. It's a position I held throughout much of my skiing
career: I always thought the winner was the one who deserved all the
However, as I get older, I realise that Eddie the Eagle's story is pretty
interesting and unique and, if there's one thing people love, it's a
great tale. I've learned that he was a pretty good ski racer before his
ski jumping exploits catapulted him to international fame. He almost
qualified for the 1984 Olympic Games Olympics for Great Britain. But the
one thing that really endears him to me is that, like me, he's also tried
speed skiing. He must be a good bloke although his 171kph PB is a little
on the slow side!
So, Eddie the Eagle opens in Australia on Thursday 21 April and
I will be one of the first to see it. I'm taking my kids as they both
love a good story too.