A sporty schoolboy is following in the footsteps of his hero Eddie The Eagle Edwards – by ski-jumping in his back GARDEN.
George Brown, 13, took up skiing after his hopes of making the British gymnastics team were dashed when he was aged nine.
With the help of dad Stuart, he has converted the back garden of his home in Moseley, Birmingham, into a winter gym complete with a mini ski-jump on the back steps.
After taking up the sport five years ago, George is now the country’s top skier in the under-14 category.
He said: “I’m trying to imitate as best as I can the things I can’t actually do at the moment like ski on slopes.
“I’m mostly trying to work on my main muscle groups and trying to develop the strength where I don’t have it so that I can prepare myself for when I can actually ski again.
“I do miss competing a lot because that’s what we train for.
“My dream is to get to the top, but I obviously can’t get there without hard work.
“I’ve always been into athletics and gymnastics but it was after watching Eddie the Eagle movie that I really got inspired to become a top ski-jumper.
“I am going to do to the best I can to get to the top but there’s a long way to go and a lot of hard work to do.”
George has set his sights on the 2026 Winter Olympics where he hopes to emulate Eddie who captured the nation’s imagination 33 years ago.
Eddie was the first competitor in 60 years to represent Britain in Olympic ski-jumping in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
He finished last out of 73 jumpers but he made headlines around the world with his wide-grin and comically large glasses.
His story was even made into the movie Eddie the Eagle in 2016, with Taron Egerton in the title role and Hugh Jackman as Edwards’ coach.
Despite living in the Midlands with no mountains George is leading The National Schools League run by The National Schools Snowsports Association, both in his U14 age-group and the overall competition.
George’s gruelling weekly training regime involves more than 16 hours of gymnastics, four-and-a-half hours of dry-slope skiing as well as circuits of his home gym in the garden.
Proud dad Stuart, 46, who runs a catering company, said: “Gymnastics and skiing are both brutal on the body but do really help prevent injury.
“George eats 10,000 calories per week more than the average child of his age but he needs it to fuel his training.
“I remember watching Eddie The Eagle compete in 1988. I never dreamed I might have a son who might one day compete in the Olympics as well.
“We’re very proud of George’s commitment to his training. He is very focused on what he needs to do.
“George was always into gymnastics when he was younger but when he was nine his coaches said he was not quite progressing at the ridiculous level to reach the Olympics.
“We had always skied as family and took him to Slovenia when he was five and had four family holidays there.
“It went from there and then we both watched the Eddie The Eagle film and that really inspired him.
“The film basically says that it doesn’t matter your background or what you have got train with, or what people tell you – you can achieve it.
“That is the inspiring part of that.”
Stuart believes his son first got the taste for skiing after he and wife Jocelyn, 42, bought him plastic skis when he was just 18-months old.
He said: “His first ski holiday was in his mum’s belly and then at 18 months we went out for the first time with him on plastic skis.
“He loved it and would go ‘ski, ski, ski’.
“Even from a young age he loved it as much as us. The sky’s the limit for him now.
“Before lockdown there wasn’t anything improvised, but since lockdown a lot of his training has stopped.
“We have set up circuits in the garden with a combination of skiing and gymnastics movements.
“Since it snowed we even turned the back steps into a mini ski slope which has at least given him a taste of the real thing.”