Eddie 'the Eagle' recreates Calgary Olympic glory with first ski jumps in decades

Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards, the British ski jumper who finished dead last in the 70- and 90-metre events at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics — but gained worldwide fame in the process — returned Sunday to jump once again.

53-year-old stuck the landing on the 18-metre, 38-metre and 70-metre jumps

Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards flies again

6 years ago
Duration 0:36
Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards was back at Winsport on Sunday, jumping for the first time in nearly 20 years. Edwards gained infamy when he finished last in ski jumping at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards flew above the skyline once again Sunday, nearly 30 years after jumping into the hearts of Calgarians during the 1988 Winter Games.

The British ski jumper who finished dead last in the 70- and 90-metre events at the Calgary Winter Olympics — but gained worldwide fame in the process — returned Sunday to jump once again to showcase the sport along with members of the Altius Nordic Ski Club.

"Relief, absolutely relief," he said, after sticking the landing on six jumps.

"It's lovely to come back to Calgary ... but I've not done much jumping over the last 20-odd years. So I was a bit nervous but I was glad I got two [landings] on the 18-metre jump, two on the [38-metre jump] and two on the [70-metre jump] and I thought, 'I'll quit while I'm ahead, I'm still in one piece and I'm happy.'"

His furthest jump Sunday measured about 24 metres, much less than the 55-metre distance he posted during the '88 Games. 

Standing on top of the tallest jump Sunday, Edwards said he felt the same nerves.

Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards heads into a jump Sunday at WinSport, nearly 30 years after competing in the 1988 Winter Olympics. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

"But there was such a crowd, and they were all shouting 'Eddie, Eddie,' and it took me right back to Calgary 29 years ago, and they gave me the confidence and the courage to go down there and jump and it was great," he said. "That inspired me to go down and do my best and my last jump was actually not bad."

The now 53-year-old equated jumping to riding a bike, where the skill never leaves once you've learned it.

"It's a little bit like riding a bike, some of it stays and some of it goes," he said. "When you're going down that jump everything starts coming back, it's like survival mode and your body just knows what to do and it does it whether I think about it or not."

Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards signs autographs after making the jumps. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

The event drew around 1,000 spectators to WinSport, thanks in part to a movie, starring Hugh Jackman, released last year telling Edwards' life story and ascension to Olympic infamy, exposing him to a whole new generation of fans.

Daron Holloway drove from Morley, 61 kilometres west of Calgary, to see Edwards jump.

"It was incredible," he said. "It was very exciting to see him. I've seen his movie and I was just excited to meet him and get my picture with him."

He called the jumps "terrific, considering he hasn't jumped in a while."

"He landed all of them so it was great," Holloway said. "He's an incredible guy, he was willing to meet all the fans and sign as many autographs as he could."

Logan Avey, 6, presented Eddie 'the Eagle' with a hand-drawn picture. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Edwards also took time to meet six-year-old superfan Logan Avey, who's seen the movie "at least 40 times," according to mom, Angela Steele.

Avey presented Edwards with a drawing and Edwards presented him with an autographed photo along with spending a few minutes chatting.

With Calgary considering a bid on the 2026 Winter Olympics, Edwards said that is something he supports.

"I think it's great," he said. "I hope they do go for another Olympics and I hope they win the bid because I think the Calgary Olympics were the best Olympics. And if they can have the Olympics again, I think it will be even better. I might even jump, you never know."

With files from Julien Lecacheur and Terri Trembath