Eric Liddell

Eric Henry Liddell ( born January 16, 1902 in Tianjin, † 21 February 1945 Weixian; Chinese name李爱锐, Li Airui ) was a Scottish athlete and missionary who was 1924 Olympic champion in the 400 meters. He was also a rugby union international for Scotland. After the end of his sporting career, he worked as a Protestant missionary in China. His life was processed Chariots of Fire in the feature film partly.


Liddell was born in China, the second son of John Dunlop Liddell, who worked for the London Missionary Society. In 1908 his parents sent him to the Eltham College, a boarding school for children of missionaries in London. During her time at this boarding Liddell and his brother saw her parents and sister born later only two or three times when her parents were on furlough. On these occasions, the family lived mostly together in Edinburgh.

At boarding Liddell soon became captain of the cricket and the rugby team. Even in athletics, he proved to be a talented and was soon regarded as the fastest runner in Scotland. During his schooldays published several newspaper articles that referred to him as a future Olympic champion. Following the steam locomotive Flying Scotsman, which established several speed records, he was often referred to as "flying Scotsman ".

1920 Liddell enrolled at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied science. While studying sports played an important role in his life. For the University team he ran sprints and played rugby. 1922 and 1923 he completed as part of the Five Nations tournament seven caps for the Scottish national team. 1924 Liddell British champion in the 100 and 220 yards; time of 9.7 seconds over 100 yards for 35 years was no longer offered.

With these services to Liddell qualified for the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924. The deeply religious Christian refused to come to forward the 100-meter race, as this took place on a Sunday. His victory over 400 meters ( heats and finals took place on working days ), however, came rather surprising, as his special discipline was actually the 100 - meter track. With 47.6 seconds he even ran a new world record. Two days earlier, he had finished third on 200 meters. Because of his faith, he was also called " the flying pastor" after his success at the Olympic Games in 1924. The experiences Liddell and the 100-meter Olympic champion Harold Abrahams were filmed in 1981 in Chariots of Fire (English Chariots of Fire). Liddell was portrayed by Ian Charleson.

After graduating in 1925, Liddell returned to China to act as his parents in Tianjin as a missionary. In 1932 he was ordained priest in 1934, he married a Canadian missionary, with whom he had three daughters. After the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, the situation for foreigners in China was more dangerous. 1941 advised the British government to its citizens to leave the country. Liddell remained in China, while his wife and three daughters moved to Canada.

1943 Liddell was interned by the Japanese. In the detention of Weixian he fell ill with a brain tumor and died at the age of 43 years. He was buried in Shijiazhuang. As Allan Wells, also a Scot, in 1980 won the Olympic 100 - meter race, he devoted Liddell victory.