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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 May 2016

Film review: Eddie the Eagle

Tribute to working class Olympic spirit

2012 Olympic Stadium, London, photo EG Focus on wiki commons

2012 Olympic Stadium, London, photo EG Focus on wiki commons   (Click to enlarge)

Amalia

"Eddie the Eagle" is based on the story of real-life British ski athlete Michael Edwards. He was the first to represent Great Britain in ski jumping, doing so at the1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.

It's a touching, feel-good movie; an inspirational film about a man giving his maximum.

Eddie was a self-funded, working class underdog. He narrowly missed out on joining Britain's downhill skiing team, so switched to jumping.

His lack of ability in this discipline was matched only by his determination. The media saw Eddie as a joke, but to many he exemplified the Olympic spirit of perseverance.

And Eddie wasn't just a media laughing stock. Which school you went to seriously affected how welcome you'd be in the Olympics team.

It's quite telling that after the 1988 winter Olympics, rules changed, making it a lot harder for people without adequate access to funding, training and equipment - working class people - to participate.

You have to be placed in the top ranks of previous international events, not just selected by your country's team. This arbitrary condition leaves poorer athletes - and poorer nations - out of the Olympics.

Silver spoon

7% of this country's population is privately educated. Despite that, 37% of 2012 Team GB medallists were privately educated.

The Tories and those on top might blame comprehensive schools. But working class people are well aware that cuts and privatisation exclude them from trying out sports, and accessing training.

The 2012 Olympics in Stratford came with the promise of more sporting facilities in east London. On the one hand, these were built. But on the other hand, big chunks were subsequently sold at a loss to privateers.

Eddie's exclusion from future Olympic Games shows how money-driven big sporting events currently are. Not winning but taking part just doesn't cut it.

The film explains that Olympic committees are not adequately funded by governments, and rely on sponsorship. Sponsors demand record-breaking athletes. However, its narration stops just before Eddie is excluded by the financial elite.

Pierre de Coubertin, considered the father of the modern Olympic Games, said "the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part... the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle."

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In The Socialist 11 May 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories retreat: now drive them out!

No to the bosses' EU, yes to international solidarity

Teachers force Tory academies u-turn

TUSC announces '20-city tour': the socialist case against the EU

Independent inquiry into Orgreave now!

Blair played matchmaker between Saudi oil barons and Chinese dictators

What we saw

Them & Us


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

John Mann's Israel hypocrisy

Council estate exhibition shows the full picture

Film review: Eddie the Eagle

The Socialist postbag


Elections 2016

Elections showed anger and fragmentation

TUSC election campaigns show opposition to cuts

Over 1,700 votes for TUSC in Warrington

Scotland: SNP wins but new openings for socialist alternative emerge

Wales: no change and all change

Northern Ireland elections: positive moves against sectarian politics

Over 1,800 votes for TUSC candidate in Bristol

Third anti-cuts councillor elected in Southampton

TUSC increases vote in Coventry by 25%

Fourth place for TUSC in Liverpool


Workplace news and analysis

Blacklisted workers win millions in legal victory

Government blinks first in junior doctors' dispute

Trade Union Bill becomes law

Prison officers walk out over health and safety

Potential new steel bosses refuse to take on pensions

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Let kids be kids: children 'strike' against Sats tests

What way forward for Tamil rights?

Save Paignton Hospital campaign launched

May Day demo says: no cuts to childrens' centres!

Support for junior doctors at campaign stalls


International socialist news and analysis

Greek general strike: more needed to defeat austerity

How to trump Donald


 

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