Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards has been named as Britain’s top winter sports hero in a new poll, ahead of a film of his life story being released on March 28 in the United Kingdom.
The 52-year-old was the first British athlete to compete in ski jumping at the Winter Olympic Games, when he represented the country at Calgary 1988.
Edwards participated at the Games despite Britain not boasting a ski jump facility, leaving him to train abroad at Lake Placid in the United States.
He is best known for finishing last at the Games, although he posted a British record of 73.5 metres in one of his jumps.
He became a cult hero due to his unorthodox approach with the new film - called Eddie The Eagle - celebrating his story.
Due to his underdog status, the British public have voted Edwards, who finished 55th and 58th in his two events, as Britain’s top winter sports hero.
He received a total of 17 per cent of a public vote, following a poll of 1,000 people, with Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean ending second on 16 per cent having won ice dance gold at Sarajevo 1984.
“Naturally, I’m touched to be hailed as the greatest winter sportsperson and I guess it goes to show it’s not all about winning,” said Edwards.
“I only ever wanted to achieve something and if by taking part in those historic jumps I encouraged more young people to get their ski boots on, then that can only be a good thing.
“Fun aside, winter sports can pose a risk, which is why I’d always recommend wearing protective clothing such as a helmet.
“But this is all useless advice if people don’t stick to the rules and treat the snow with respect – don’t try to be a hero and stay within your limits.”
Amy Williams was the third place finisher in the poll, having won women’s skeleton gold at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
She received 14 per cent of the vote, with Lake Placid 1980 figure skating gold medallist Robin Cousins ending fourth with eight per cent.
The poll was conducted by Nationwide FlexPlus, who provide travel insurance and winter sport cover to families.