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Eric Liddell: Olympian and Missionary

“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure. ” Chariots of Fire

Eric Liddell @ Three Cornered Hug

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Even if you’re not familiar with Eric Liddell’s story, you will certainly know the tune to the movie, entitled Chariots of Fire, made about this Olympian.
(If not see the vid below!)

The Olympics of 1924 were held in Paris, and Eric Liddell’s main event was the 100 meter dash. This Christian athlete made history when he withdrew from this event, due to the fact that it was scheduled on a Sunday. Instead, he signed up for the 400 meter dash.

When asked about his plan for the race, he replied, “The secret of my success over the 400 meters is that I run the first 200 meters as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200 meters, with God’s help, I run faster.”

His plan worked; Liddell, “The Flying Scotsman”, went home with a Gold medal, having set a new record for the event.

While some may know this part of his story, many do not realize that Mr. Liddell went on to be a missionary in China. To begin with, he taught chemistry and sports at a boys school. After getting married he was a traveling evangelist, going from village to village.

In 1940, when Japan invaded China, the dire situation caused Liddell’s wife and children to flee to the safety of relatives in Canada.  Liddell himself was placed in an internment camp, where he died of a brain tumor not long before the liberation.

In a nation full of “American Idols”, we need to teach our kids about heroes who had more than just talent. People who gave it their all, who risked their lives for what they believed- those who’ve run without looking back.

There is a wonderful free ebook I found about Liddell’s life, which is basically a beautiful picture album with narration all throughout to tell the story. You can go there by clicking here.

You can also go to the Eric Liddell Website for more info.

Below, the first clip contains actual video of the race, followed by a clip from the movie, Chariots of Fire. Enjoy!

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