Dancing On Ice’s Eddie the Eagle has spoken of the sheer grit and determination he used to qualify for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics ahead of his Personal Skate in the ITV competition this weekend.
The ski jumper, 60, became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in the sport at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada in 1988.
The sportsman unfortunately finished last in both Normal Hill and Large Hill events but he insists he was fortunate to take part as he was repeatedly told he did not have the talent or ability to compete at such a level.
However, he held the British ski jumping record from 1988 to 2001. He also took part in amateur speed skiing, running at 66.4 mph.
Eddie, real name Michael Edwards, has related his Personal Skate, which he will perform on Sunday, to his Olympic experience, recalling how he lived out of a car and ate food from bins while attempting to quality for the competition.
Dancing On Ice’s Eddie the Eagle has spoken of the sheer grit and determination he used to qualify for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics ahead of his Personal Skate this weekend
Eddie, real name Michael Edwards, has related his Personal Skate, which he will perform on Sunday, to his Winter Olympics experience (pictured on Dancing On Ice last month)
He told MailOnline: ‘I am skating to Van Halen – Jump. Training for the Calgary Winter Olympics, I would always listen to that song and just as the song went “jump” I’d hit this road and go flying through the air.
‘I had to sleep in the back of my car. I scraped food out of bins and I had so many people that helped me because they could see that I was trying to do something and go somewhere and then eventually I managed to qualify for Calgary.
‘Representing Great Britain at the Olympics was just amazing. I knew that I was going to come last. Getting to the Olympic games in Calgary was my gold medal. I just wanted to jump as far as I could and enjoy the whole experience.
‘The closing ceremony was incredible. The Olympic president sat up to do his closing speech and he said “some of you have even soared like an eagle”. I got up and waved and the crowd went nuts.
‘It just goes to show that if you work hard you can achieve anything. The Dancing on Ice journey is just like that for me as well. I didn’t set out to inspire people but I want to continue that. This performance is for all you people out there. This is for you.’
Eddie joined this year’s series of Dancing On Ice late as he was drafted in to replace Gogglebox star Stephen Lustig-Webb – who was forced to quit due to breaking his ankle.
He is is paired with professional figure skater Vicky Ogden but his original partner Tippy Packard was forced to pull out due to an injury.
In his opening VT as he reflected on the challenge, he said: ‘Hopefully from now going forward, we can spend a lot more time on the ice and wow everybody on that first dance.’
The ski jumper, 60, became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in the sport at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada in 1988
Eddie has proved a hit with viewers so far, with fans of the show branding him their winner during a recent episode.
Before his routine, Eddie descended from the rafters on the huge eagle which was suspended on metal wires.
The moment impressed viewers, with many taking to social media to express their delight at what they had seen.
One person wrote on Twitter: ‘When he came down on that Eagle all I could think was here we go here is the joke contestant. Should of known better. Dude is a bit of a surprise.’
While someone else shared: ‘Eddie the Eagle surprised me so much, I was not expecting him to be that good.’
‘Eddie The Eagle is my new favourite! What a performance,’ declared someone else.
While another person insisted: ‘Eddie the Eagle to win, well and truly saluted.’
‘Ricky Norwood deserved a better score from Oti, he looks like he’s improved so much since day 1. In other news, Eddie The Eagle HAS to win, what a legend.,’ wrote another show fan.
Dancing On Ice viewers branded Eddie the Eagle their winner after he impressed them with his skating skills during a recent episode of the show
Before his routine, Eddie descended from the rafters on the huge eagle which was suspended on metal wires
And someone else posted: ‘Eddie the eagle was simply superb. Way to go Eddie!’
One other audience member at home commented: ‘Unexpected excellence of the night – Eddie the Eagle was brilliant!’
While someone else commended: ‘Eddie “The Eagle” surprised me did NOT expect him to be that good.’
Dancing On Ice continues on Sunday 18 February at 6:20pm on ITV1 and ITVX.