British ski jumpers
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Imperialistic ambitions of United Kingdom used to be expressed in colonizing half of the known world and sucking its wealths out of it. Nowadays, it's virtually impossible to do so because UN or NATO defends the world from UK's depredatory politics. Therefore British decided to conquer the world of sports. Unfortunately, their plans are usually ruined by different countries, depending on a discipline. This way England loses with South Africa in cricket, with Italy in soccer and with most known countries in ice hockey. Consecutive loses of England on various fronts led to creation of new sports' policy introduced in winter sports, especially ski jumping. According to it, British ski jumpers are meant to be trained to be as unsuccesful as it's possible to achieve.
edit Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards
“But was I afraid of jumping? Of course I was. There was always a chance that my next jump would be my last. A big chance”
The program was introduced in late 80's. The first ski jumper prepared to compete according to the new policy was Michael Edwards, who later earned his nickname "Eddie The Eagle". He became his career as an unsuccessful alpine skier but he didn't qualify for a national team for Olympic Games in Calgary. However, Eddie wanted to take part in Olympics so much, that British Federation decided to fulfill the new policy and allowed him to compete as a ski jumper. Eddie agreed and became his training. In order to make him worse than he could be, he was given a coach who had no idea about ski jumping. This resulted in a series of severe injuries, which included broken long bones. Happily Eddie recovered before Olympic Games in Calgary and could compete with best ski jumpers of late 80's.
In his Olympic debut, Eddie lived up to expectations and showed absolutely shameful performance and placed last in both the 70m and 90m events. However he earned a massive media attention. First of all, supporters loved his abnormal appearance. Eddie needed to wear extra-thick glasses during his jump as he was extremely near sighted.
The worse he did the more popular he became. This way he fulfilled his task becoming a most popular ski jumper in the history. Nowadays nearly nobody remembers who won both competitions in Calgary but nearly all sports fans know who placed last.
He became so popular, that he was mentioned at the closing ceremony by the president of the Organizing Committee - Frank King.
Following his failure at the competitions, Eddie earned a celebrity status and earned a lot of money appearing in talk shows. But after all, he returned to his work as a plasterer. The only thing that changed in his life was his accommodation - after Olympic Games he didn't have to return to a Finnish mental hospital, where he lived due to lack of funds for alternative accommodation. He even earned a 5-years sponsorship but he consequently failed to qualify for next Olympic Games in Albertville and Lillehammer because International Olympic Committee decided to introduce the Eddie The Eagle Rule, which banned from Olympic Games all ski jumpers who performed equally or worse than Eddie.
One way or another, the imperialistic ambitions of United Kingdom were absolutely satisfied. Eddie was a loser who win the hearts of supporters across the globe.
edit Glynn Pedersen
Even the failure supporting program has its fails. Glynn Pedersen is one of such fails. He was a naturalized Canadian, who was meant to repeat unsuccessful performances of Eddie The Eagle. Unfortunately, before Glynn changed his nationality, he was actually a decent ski jumper. He didn't achieve any spectacular successes but managed to place in top 30 of some less important competitions. Soon after that his sponsorship was canceled and Glynn ended his career in early 2000's.
edit James Lambert
James Lambert was the third and (so far) last British attempt to conquer the world of sports with unsuccessful athletes. Lambert was one of a few amateur ski jumpers. He jumped recreationally and didn't compete in official competitions. But when he reached age of 45 (sic!), he claimed he is ready to compete with proffessionals. British Federation was actually reluctant to renwe the failure program but finally they agreed on his start during 2011 FIS World Ski Championships in Oslo. However, he was not allowed to compete with ski jumpers (Eddie The Eagle Rule), so he decided to start as a nordic combined skier. This way he could be even less successful as nordic combined requires athletes to jump and run on skis. Lambert was a failure jumper and he couldn't run as well. Anyway, he earned a massive media attetion, a bit less than Eddie over 20 years before, but still, he gave many interviews and supporters wondered if he could be worse than Eddie. Finally, he took part in 90m competition and placed last, as everybody predicted, losing 20 meters to the penultimate athlete. On the course, he performed even worse, being lapped after somewhat less than 2 kilometers.
edit Hungarian concurrence
Actually, United Kingdom isn't the only country supporting failure ski jumpers. The other one is Hungary. But Hungarian ski jumpers are so unsuccessful that even most of the ski jumping fans never heard of them. They regularly compete in the lowest ranked competitions where they place last most of the times. They achieve this feat by simply not training at all. Hungarian ski jumpers only take part in competitions. This way they can receive money from scholarships. They continue their careers as long as they get money. Many unsuccessful Hungarians competed this way during recent years. But they never compete at World Championships or Olympic games so they are not so attractive for media as British ones.