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Other Skiing Wednesday, 16 January, 2002, 14:23 GMT
Eddie the legal eagle
Eddie the Eagle is pursuing a new career
BBC Sport Online's Chris Charles catches up with comedy ski jumper Eddie Edwards who has left the halcyon days of 1988 behind to become a law student.

Any fears that Eddie Edwards would be unrecognisable 14 years on from his Olympic 'heroics' are quickly dispelled.

If there are any more wrinkles, it's difficult to spot them and the well-defined chin and cheeky grin are just the same.

Eddie lives in Leicester these days, where he is studying for a law degree at De Montfort University and "living student life to the full".

So you could say he's a legal eagle?

Eddie the Eagle Edwards at the Calgary Olympics
Waiting for the Eagle to land - Edwards in flight
"Yes, I've had that a few times! It's immense fun, I love being at university, it's one of the best things I've ever done," he enthuses.

"I've been interested in law since taking out a civil action against my trustees 10 years ago.

"As much as I love being Eddie the Eagle and I will be Eddie the Eagle for the rest of my life, I won't be able to always make money from it."

He admits university life is a bit less hazardous than some of the stunts he's attempted in the past.

Another Olympics?

"I've done some pretty dangerous things in my life - jumping off tall buildings, being fired out of cannons and, of course, ski jumping."

Ah yes, ski jumping - whatever happened to his love affair with the sport that literally catapulted him to overnight stardom?

The Eagle, in case you'd forgotten, was by far the worst performer in his chosen discipline but captured the hearts of the public in much the same manner as Eric the Eel in Sydney.

He finished last in both the 70m and 90m events - yet the worse he did, the more popular he became.

"I would love to go for another Olympics, but I think I'll be going rather than competing," Eddie admits.

Eddie the Eagle Edwards
Some of the jumps did not always come off
"It's not impossible to compete, but I'd need a colossal amount of sponsorship. I'll probably be going over to work in hospitality for the Games, and maybe do some broadcasting out there.

"I'm getting old, I'm 37 now, but the passion's still there, the inclination's still there - I still love to have my skis on my feet and I still love to jump."

But has he got any better?

"People wouldn't recognise me if I got on a ski jump now because I'm actually getting quite good," he says - almost apologetically.

"The last time I jumped was the middle of '98 when I was training for the '98 Olympics.

"I was jumping very, very well. In Calgary, I did 71m on the big hill and 55m on the small. This time I was doing 86m on the small hill and 115m on the big one."

As you talk to Eddie, you are aware of a few 'is it, or isn't it?' glances from other customers, but nothing like the adulation heaped on him after his spectacular failure in Calgary.

"It was weird. I went to the Olympics and nobody knew who I was - two weeks later everybody knew who I was," he says.

Eddie the Eagle
Spot the difference: Brad Pitt...
"I was suddenly travelling around the world doing lots of weird and wonderful things.

"I went from being a plasterer earning five grand a year to a celebrity earning something like 10,000 an hour - it was brilliant!

"The only problem was, my feet didn't touch the ground for two years - I was doing a job in Germany one night, one in New York the next, then down to Sydney. It was still great fun, though."

Clown

For those too young to have witnessed Eaglemania, fear not, it is coming to a cinema near you soon(ish).

"Yes, it's true, they're making a movie about my life - probably the last major project I'll be doing as Eddie the Eagle," he beams.

"I sold the rights to my life about a year ago to an American production company.

Brad Pitt
...Eddie the Eagle (go on, use your imagination)
"They're putting the script together now and then they're going to sell it to one of the major film companies.

"Hopefully it will put to rest a few myths that came out of the Olympics.

"Some people were thinking 'he's not an athlete, he's bringing the sport into disrepute, he was a clown and that sort of thing.

"But just getting to the Olympic Games was my gold medal. It didn't matter where I came."

So, who would he like to play the lead role in the film?

"Well, it's got to be Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. They're almost as good looking as me, but not quite!"

Good to see the old sense of humour is still alive and kicking. You cannot keep a good Eagle down for long.

Links to more Other Skiing stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more Other Skiing stories



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