The XXII Olympic Winter Games

Soaring to New Heights

James Woods has helped transform British skiing from punch lines to podiums

James "Woodsy" Woods, Britain's next shot at an Olympic skiing medal. PHOTO: Salomon

James “Woodsy” Woods, Britain’s next shot at an Olympic skiing medal. PHOTO: Salomon

James Woods is Great Britain’s best chance at a skiing Olympic medal in, well… ever. The English slopestyle skier that honed his tricks on dry slope (read: slick carpet) is the first British man to win a ski World Cup overall championship, a World Championships medal (silver), and an X Games medal (bronze). Did we mention he did that all last season? “Woodsy” carries serious momentum into his first Olympics with a chance at history, something that puts him on the BBC’s Athlete’s to Watch list for Sochi.

With all the hype surrounding the high-flying Woods, it’s hard not to think about the last time we were this excited about a British skier. In the 1988 Calgary Games, an affable and thickly bi-focaled Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards showed up and told the world he was going to ski jump. He did just that, smashing the British ski jumping record with a leap of 73.5 meters—but finishing dead last. Still, he was the star of the Games and will forever be a piece of Olympic lore (officials created an Olympic law in his honor).

But while both will both likely go down in Games history, Woodsy has a different level of expectation for his first Olympic go-around, soaring to podium heights “The Eagle”, and much of England, never thought possible. Here’s a look at the two going-for-broke blokes from across the pond.

The last time a British skier competed in the Olympics, Eddie the Eagle finished dead last. PHOTO: Bob Thomas/Getty Images

The last time a British skier competed in the Olympics, Eddie the Eagle finished dead last. PHOTO: Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Olympic Year/Event
Eddie: 1988 Ski Jumping (70m and 90m)
Woodsy: 2014 Slopestyle

Known For
Eddie: Grabbing headlines as worst jumper (finished last in 1988 Calgary Games)
Woodsy: Mid-air grabs as best jumper in slopestyle

Distinguishing Feature
Eddie: Thick glasses that often fogged
Woodsy: Sideshave hair-do (a la Skrillex) with colorful designs

Legacy
Eddie: After the 1988 Games, the I.O.C. established a rule requiring competitors to be of certain caliber before qualifying for the Games—The Eddie the Eagle Rule.
Woodsy: TBD

Best Competitive Finish
Eddie: 1st place Splash! Celebrity Diving Competition; 1st place Winter Wipeout celebrity special.
Woodsy: 2013 World Cup Slopestyle Champion

Home Ski Hill
Eddie: Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre, Gloucester, England (dry slope)
Woodsy: Sheffield Ski Centre, Sheffield, England (dry slope)

Endearing Press Nickname
Eddie: Mr. Magoo
Woodsy: Just plain ol’ Woodsy

Sponsors
Eddie: Britain’s Eagle Airlines
Woodsy: Salomon, Monster, Quiksilver, Ion Camera

Mascot Potential
Eddie: Has soccer mascot named after him (Colchester United F.C.)
Woodsy: U.S. Forest Service owl icon, famous for motto “Give a hoot — don’t pollute!”

Add a comment

  • Davie

    Alain Baxter?

  • John

    Why don’t you do some basic research before you write your articles? Just shoddy.

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