Story 3: The Worst Olympic Ski Jumper Ever
Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards was Britain's only hope for a medal in ski jumping in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.
On the day of the event, the winner jumped 403 feet. Eddie the Eagle, in a borrowed ski suit and goggles held together with tape, jumped 238 feet.
He finished 56th in a field of 56. For a while he was a laughingstock.
Television commentators poked fun -- reporters tried to make him look foolish.
But Eddie refused to be embarrassed.
"This is the best day in my life.
I'm representing Britain in the Olympics," he said -- " I just jumped 72 meters through the air -- that's a hard thing to do."
Eddie was having a great time.
Then somebody noticed that Eddie, was the first Olympic ski jumper that Britain
had ever had.
He had, by default, stumbled off with the British jumping record.
Eddie became the darling of the public.
Eddie got rich over the next few years, giving endorsements.
But then things went bad.
He lost hismoney in bad investments, he was barred from the 1992 Olympics and he crashed in a post Olympic jump.
"Broke me collarbone, fractured me skull, tore ligaments in me knee, damaged me kidney... And cracked me ribs."
The last I heard of Eddie, he was practicing on a jump simulator in his apartment, more than a thousand miles from the nearest real jump.
And what does he say about his brush with glory now that the cameras have turned elsewhere?
"Calgary? Oh, it was brilliant.
That was my dream since I was 8.
Life since has been great.
I've had a wonderful time, been all over the world.
Been to lots of interesting places, done lots of interesting things, met lots of interesting people.
I wouldn't give that up for the world."
What I learned from the bet, and what I want to tell you tonight, is what Eddie the Eagle seemed to know all along: There are times when you are going to do well, and times when you're going to fail.
But neither the doing well, nor the failure is the measure of success.
The measure of success is what you think about what you've done.
Let me put that another way:
The way to be happy is to like yourself and the way to like yourself is to do only things that make you proud
Psychology Commencement Address
Marc. S. Lewis, Ph.D.
May 19, 2000