Eddie and Platz arrived in a white Rolls-Royce. It took 10 minutes to get the Eagle from car to van in the thrusting crowd, but eventually he was on his way. "Eddie is a hero!" kids sang to a conga beat, and a girl ran out to him with a posy. Most of Cheltenham was lying in ambush along the Promenade, where Mayor Gil Wakeley stood resplendent in scarlet and ermine, gold-chained, lace-ruffled. In the town hall he made a presentation, handing Eddie a box. Later the Eagle was asked what the loot was. "Four whiskey glasses with a picture of the House of Commons on them," he said. "Cheltenham doesn't throw money around."
This weekend Edwards plans to return to competition, at the 66th Puijo Winter Games outside Kuopio, Finland. And before long he hopes that people will see him as more than a small joke. This summer he will train with the U.S. team in Lake Placid—coach Greg Windsperger is taking him under his wing. And with sponsors lining up, he won't be living on starvation rations.
For all the buffoonery, Edwards believes he may have done the world a little good. "I know I'm just Eddie Edwards the plasterer, and sport is so professional now. But haven't I brought something back to Olympic sport? Like, what did they used to call it? Ah, yes. Uh, taking part."