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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 (Click to enlarge)
"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.
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 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
The Socialist 11 May 2016 |
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