Eric Liddell –  One of Scotland’s finest men. “In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.”

Eric_Liddell-paris1

Eric Liddell – Have you heard of this incredible person? Yesterday on radio Scotland Allan Wells  Gold Medal winner in the 1980 games was speaking about Eric Liddel who won a Gold medal in the 1924 Olympics in Paris after refusing to run on a Sunday in his favoured race the 100 metres that he was a favourite to win.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0082l4l “ In the footsteps of Eric Liddle”

It was My Dad had told me all about him in my youth he was also a minister and Eric Liddell was his hero so I was made aware of one of Scotland’s finest men from an early age.

My Dad running 1934 for Edinburgh Harriers , he won the Arthurs Seat race a few times. Eric Liddell was his hero

The famous film “Chariots of Fire” was about Eric Liddell and sadly my father never saw it he would have loved it. It is still a classic and well worth a watch as is the music well worth a listen to.

“The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God’s help I run faster.”  (BBC link)

No one has embodied the ideals of the Olympic movement quite like Eric Liddell, star of the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire. After refusing to compete on religious principle in the event in which he was favourite, the 100 metres, at the 1924 Games in Paris, Liddell won an astonishing gold medal in the 400 metres. This book tells his story.

Eric Henry Liddell was a Scottish athlete, rugby player and a famous missionary. He is most famously known as the winner of the men’s 400 meters at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. The son of Scottish missionaries in China, Liddell was born and spent some of his childhood in China, before settling in England for his education. He was known as a brilliant sportsman in his school and college. After learning Pure Science from University of Edinburgh and side by side taking part in races and rugby matches, Liddell ran in 400 meters at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris and made a world record in the process. But athletics was not the true calling of his life – he left all the fame and glory to serve as a missionary in China, just like his parents. He became a schoolteacher there to teach and spread the word of God. Liddell was the one who sacrificed his life for the emancipation of China during its worst time – the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. His life is an example of love, sacrifice and true humanity, he lived for the gold far greater than the Olympics gold – the gold of being able to bring change into people’s live

  • Eric Liddell was born in Tientsin, north China to Reverend James Dunlop Liddell. His parents were Scottish missionaries with the London Missionary Society, stationed in China at the time he was born.
  • He went to Chinese schools until the age of five but was later sent to Eltham College, Mottingham—boarding school in England for the sons of missionaries. His parents used to visit him, with his sister and younger brother.
  • Liddell was a brilliant sportsman at school and was named the best athlete of the year and awarded the Blackheath Cup, which is why he was made the captain of both the cricket and rugby union teams.
  • While he was studying at the Oxford College in England, stories of him being the fastest runner in Scotland started to do the rounds. He was seen as the potential Olympic winner.
  • Not just a sportsman, Liddell was also a strongly principled Christian, which is why he was selected to speak at the Glasgow Students’ Evangelical Unit. In 1920, he enrolled himself at the University of Edinburgh to pursue Pure Science.
  • He became the member of the Scottish national rugby union team and from 1922, played seven Five Nations matches for them. The following year, he won the AAA Championships in athletics in the 100 and 220 yards. When he first reached China as a missionary, Liddell taught at an Anglo-Chinese College, to wealthy Chinese students in the hope that they will grow up and use their resources to spread the word of god.
  • In 1934, after getting ordained a minister of religion, Liddell got married to a Canadian missionary, Florence Mackenzie. The couple had three daughters together – Patricia, Heather and Maureen.
  • During the Japanese attack on China, Liddell suffered from a mental breakdown due to an untreatable brain tumor and malnutrition. He died in 1945 in China.

What a man and what ideals he had, please share the tale of this great hero.

“In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.” .

 

About heavywhalley.MBE

Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist
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2 Responses to Eric Liddell –  One of Scotland’s finest men. “In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.”

  1. Dave McClure says:

    I well remember your father playing tennis at the Fort but I had no idea he was also a top Harrier!

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