Eddie the Eagle voted Brits' best loved sporting underdog

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Brits have historically always loved to support the underdog in the world of sport, and Eddie the Eagle, Britain’s endearing 1988 Winter Olympics ski jump hopeful, has been voted the nation’s favourite sporting underdog of all time*.

There is something quintessentially British about supporting the underdog

The research by Churchill Pet Insurance reveals the nation has a soft spot for the unlikely skier, with Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards topping the poll of the nation’s best loved underdogs with 29% of the vote.

The more successful sporting hero Henry Cooper scooped second place in the poll (13%) for his plucky 1966 fight against world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali.

Tennis star ‘Tiger’ Tim Henman was voted the nation’s third favourite sporting underdog (11%) for his prowess – and bad luck - on the tennis court. Despite never progressing beyond the semi-finals in a Grand Slam contest, Henman became one of Britain’s most successful men’s singles tennis players, with fans even dubbing Wimbledon’s viewing ground ‘Henman Hill’ in his honour.

The UK’s top five favourite sporting underdogs are:
1.    Eddie the Eagle (ski jumper)
2.    Henry Cooper (boxer) taking on Muhammed Ali
3.    Tim Henman (tennis player)
4.    Seabiscuit (racehorse)
5.    The 2005 England Ashes cricket team

However, while Britain’s underdogs are some of our best-loved characters from the world of sport, some of them are also responsible for some of the nation’s favourite and most memorable sporting blunders of all time.

The UK’s top five favourite sporting blunders are:
1.    Eddie the Eagle’s bid for a ski jump medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics (18%)
2.    The 1993 Grand National false start shambles (18%)
3.    Paula Radcliff’s loo stop at the 2005 London Marathon (17%)
4.    Cambridge University’s boat sinking during the 1984 Cambridge-Oxford boat race (15%)
5.    Athlete Zola Budd tripping over Mary Decker at the 1984 Summer Olympics (8%)

Matt Owen, spokesperson for Churchill Insurance, comments: “There is something quintessentially British about supporting the underdog, whether it’s at the Olympics, Wimbledon or in the boxing ring. While the underdog might not always win, they often leave us with fond memories of their sporting endeavours.”

Churchill Insurance commissioned the research to mark the launch of its latest TV adverts, starring Eddie the Eagle and the famous nodding dog. Check out the latest Churchill TV ads on Churchill’s new YouTube channel.

Notes to Editors:

*Research conducted online on behalf of Churchill by Opinium Research between 15th and 19th December 2009 amongst 1,924 respondents, representative of the UK adult population.

Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering award-winning car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.
Churchill is part of RBS Insurance, the second largest general insurer in the UK and is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0800 200300 or visiting http://www.churchill.com.
Churchill Insurance Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered office: Churchill Court, Westmoreland Road, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1DP. Registered in England and Wales no.2258947. The Financial Services Authority's Register can be accessed through http://www.fsa.gov.uk.

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