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Other Skiing Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 09:51 GMT
Britain's new eagle takes off
Pedersen at the top of the jump and the 150 is him warming up by leaping into the arms of his coach Jeremy Baig.
Pedersen is ready to leap into action at Salt Lake City
BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson in Calgary applauds Eddie the Eagle's bravery - and lauds Britain's new Olympic ski jump star Glynn Pedersen.

Standing at the top of the K120 ski jump in Calgary, I feel total admiration for Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards.

How he launched himself off that slope at 50mph, watched by millions around the world, is beyond me.

The Eagle, who finished 58th and last in the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Canada, is still regarded as a folk hero here in Calgary.

In the Olympic Park's Hall of Fame, a video of the winners and stars from 14 years ago is proudly shown.

But the star of the show is loser Eddie, who commands the longest slot.

Gynn Pedersen
Pedersen says the Eddie the Eagle connection has helped him
Britain has a new ski jumper at the Salt Lake City Games but, unlike Eddie, Glynn Pedersen is actually rather good.

While Eddie was capturing the hearts around the globe with his fruitless attempts, Pedersen was a six-year-old growing up in Thunder Bay, Canada, oblivious to his efforts.

It was four years later that Pedersen got interested in ski jumping - and he was soon hooked.

He told BBC Sport Online: "A friend of my father took me because his sons were ski jumpers.

"It was fantastic watching them and I had a such a huge buzz when I had a go myself."

Pedersen, like all rookies, started off on a five-metre jump and then progressed onto a 10m, 20m and so on.

"The first time I went onto the large hill I was a little nervous but you soon get used to it.

"Once you've perfected the technique you could practically jump off anything!" said the 20-year-old.

Pedersen warms up by leaping into the arms of his coach Jeremy Baig.

Pedersen is the youngest of four children, he has three older sisters.

His parents are British. Dad Glynn is from Hebdon Bridge in Yorkshire and his mother Mary is Scottish.

They had always wanted their son to compete for Britain and in 1998 Pedersen took a year out of competition to satisfy the International Ski Federation's conversion criteria.

He is proud to be at the Olympics representing Britain.

Pedersen said: "It is great because of the Eddie the Eagle connection, everyone has been really supportive.

"Even my aunties and granddad in Yorkshire have been interviewed about my participation."

Olympic learning curve

There are no ski jumps in Britain and Pedersen has to train in Europe and all over the world.

But his coach, Jeremy Baig, has spotted a potential site in England.

Baig said: "There is a nice hill in Hebdon Bridge which would be ideal.

"It would be great if the funds could be raised to build a ski jump. That would really raise the sport's profile in Britain."

Pedersen is using the 2002 Olympics as a learning experience but believes he will be a medal hope in Turin in 2006.

"I am still young and learning and know I can jump a lot further. At this stage in my career, a top half finish at Salt Lake City would be a good result," he said.

Pedersen's Olympics gets underway before the opening ceremony on Friday.

The K90 qualification is being held on Friday morning.

Pedersen added: "Training has been going well and I am really excited about the Olympics. It is going to be awesome!"

Britain's Glynn Pederson
"As long as I do my best I'll be happy"
BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson

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17 Jan 02 | BBC Coverage
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