Fiona Scott Media Consultanccy

Olympian Eddie the Eagle will be the keynote speaker at the second South Glos Expo which takes place at the Bristol Business School at the University of the West of England on June 6 2018.

Michael Edwards, better known as Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards, was the first competitor to represent the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team in Olympic ski jumping.  

From Cheltenham, Eddie became beloved the world over for his determination to be an Olympian even though he was not in any way at the top of the sport.  

His story of grit and determination – even in the face of repeated failure – was rekindled two years ago when the film Eddie the Eagle was released starring actor Taron Egerton.  

Eddie will be the special guest at the South Glos Expo on Wednesday June 6 which is organised by Bristol businesswomen Lou Elliott and Esther James.  

Lou said; “Last year’s inaugural event was so successful with celebrity auctioneer Anita Manning, we were looking to find someone who would inspire and motivate both exhibitors and guests at this year’s event. Anita is a hard act to follow. 

“We felt Eddie would be fun, interesting and would showcase one of the core principles of running your own business –there will be difficult days and there will be failures along the way – yet you have to keep going to reach your goals.” 

Esther said: “If anyone understands the concept of determination and passion it’s Eddie. He followed his dreams in spite of the huge hurdles in his way and he embraced the fact he was seen as a failure – for him, being an Olympian was his goal. There will not be another Eddie in Olympic ski-jumping and we’re thrilled he’s agreed to spend the day with us all at the South Glos Expo.” 

It was in the 1980s the plasterer from Gloucestershire qualified as the sole British applicant for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski-jumping competition. He had previously represented Great Britain at the 1987 World Championships and was ranked 55th in the world. At the time of his Olympic entry, Eddie was the best ski jumper in Great Britain. 

The odds were stacked against him: he weighed 9ksg more than the next heaviest competitor; he lacked financial support and was self-funded; he was scared of heights and needed to wear his glasses which fogged up to such an extent while skiing he couldn’t actually see. 

Eddie finished last in both the 70m and 90m events - and his lack of success endeared him to people all across the globe and he arguably became the biggest story of the Olympics for that year.  

This was embarrassing for the ski jumping establishment and many athletes and officials felt Eddie was 'making a mockery' of the sport. Shortly after the Olympics finished, the entry requirements were greatly toughened, making it next to impossible for anyone to follow his example. 

Eddie subsequently released a book called 'On the piste' and much later a song called "Fly Eddie Fly" that reached the Top 50 in the UK. He’s appeared on many television shows including The Jump.  

He will be attending the South Glos Expo – which runs from 10am to 4pm – throughout the day and will give his keynote talk at 2pm.  

Esther James, who runs her own social media management company Socialable and Louise Elliot, who has her own sales consultancy Elevate Your Business, met in 2015 and came up with the idea of the Expo. The inaugural event took place last year and was a huge success.  

Esther said: “We’re thrilled to be putting on the Expo for the second time, this time coming to the UWE’s Bristol Business School. Not only will visitors and exhibitors get to meet Eddie, they will also have an opportunity to network with local businesses and brands and attend workshops.” 

For further information visit tickets to attend are free though there will be a charge for speed networking and there are a limited number of exhibition stands available starting at £575. 

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