Eddie The Eagle waved to the crowd from the small single seat chairlift as he rode to the top of the 38m jump. Chants of “Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!” greeted him as he beamed with glee and then, he flapped his arms as if they were eagle wings, and the crowd exploded.
It was 1988 all over again.
At the start of those Calgary Winter Olympics, Michael “Eddie” Edwards was the only member of the Great Britain Ski Jumping Team. By the end of the games, he (alongside a quartet of bobsledders from Jamaica) was a worldwide star.
Eddie The Eagle returned to Calgary this week to speak to the Altius Nordic Ski Team and to take a few jumps at the local hill – the same one he jumped at in 1988.
It’s a funny thing, living in an Olympic city. The ski jump is just 4 blocks from my home. When the World Cup events come to town for moguls, bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton, my boys and I walk over and get a front row seat to see Olympians ply their craft.
We’ve seen Kaillie Humphries and John Montgomery up close. We’ve met Jenn Heil and Alex Bilodeau. The access to these athletes, the ability to see their dedication and achievement up close is something I hope rubs off on my kids. I want them to see how hard it is to get to the top, but if you commit to yourself and believe in yourself, you can make it happen.
That’s the story of Eddie The Eagle. He was just a kid with an Olympic dream shunned by the establishment, but wouldn’t let his spirits be crushed. He made his own luck, he persevered, and inspired the world. And now, nearly 30 years later, and on the other side of 50, he is inspiring crowds again.
The story of Eddie The Eagle was turned into a film in 2016 and when I heard Eddie was coming to town, I queued it up on Netflix and sat my boys down to learn the story of against the odds achievement that happened just blocks from our couch.
There are a number of titles on Netflix to inspire your kids to build up a dream and be committed to it. Here are some to check out:
When a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified to the Olympic Games, he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team.
Pele’s meteoric rise from the slums of Sao Paulo to leading Brazil to its first World Cup victory at the age of 17.
A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.
Jim White moves his family after losing his last job as a football coach. He sees that some of the students are worth starting a cross-country team and turns seven students with no hope into one of the best cross-country teams.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team