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Everybody loves an underdog story, and the Olympics are full of them. Between the summer and winter games, we have innumerable tales of people who defied the odds in order to become legends for their given sports. Eddie the Eagle represents the latest in a long line of iconic Olympic stories, but as it turns out: that story shared the spotlight with another inspiring tale involving a certain Jamaican bobsled team.
According to Yahoo! Movies, or anyone who knows their Olympic history, Eddie the Eagle actually takes place at the same Olympic games depicted in the 1993 classic sports film Cool Runnings. Taking place at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, Eddie the Eagle centers upon British ski jumper (and total underdog) Michael Edwards (Taron Edgerton) as fights tooth and nail to become a member of the Olympic ski team. Cool Runnings takes place at the same games, only it focused upon a team of Jamaican bobsledders and their coach (portrayed by the late, great actor John Candy).
Check out the following scene from Cool Runnings. It most certainly shares a certain amount of DNA with Eddie the Eagle, and should be enough to spark the nostalgia of just about anybody who grew up during the 1990s:
The film seems acutely aware of these connections as well. At a certain point during the running time of Eddie the Eagle, Hugh Jackman’s character actually turns off a radio broadcast announcing one of the Jamaican bobsled team runs. More references to Cool Running were reportedly originally planned, but in the end the filmmakers opted against it because it felt a bit too on the nose. It seems like they made the right call because Eddie the Eagle’s story deserves to stand on its own, but as a longtime fan of Cool Runnings, I have to say that would have been pretty damn cool (boom) to see.
Not all underdog stories have to end in victory, the simple act of showing up and competing is often enough to inspire the world. Eddie the Eagle knows that, and Cool Runnings knew that. The Olympics have a long and storied tradition of honor in victory, and grace in defeat; that’s why we love the games so much, and that’s why they inspire us. What are your favorite Olympic movies of all time? Let us know in the comments section below and be sure to check out Eddie the Eagle, which is currently in theaters.