Eric Liddell, Olympic athlete, Man of God, man of principles, 1924 Olympics, Paris, Scotland, Liddell refused to run on Sunday, Missionary in China, IOC says no to Chicago, Thanks be to God
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” Isaiah. 40:31
Eric Liddell on principle of his beliefs and faith in God refused to compete on a Sunday. His event was changed and he won the 400 meters. Because of his actions, his story lives on and has inspired millions of people around the world about the power of God. I believe that Eric Liddell was smiling upon us today.
From the movie “Chariots of Fire”, a movie about two men from England who competed in the 1924 Olympics. Harold Abrahams ran to prove something . Eric Liddell ran for the glory of God.
Chariots of fire – movie, opening scene
Chariots of Fire – Movie 1981 – Closing Scenes
The Eric Liddell Centre
“As a result of having insufficient time for both running and rugby, he chose the former, aiming for the 100 meters in the Paris Olympics. When he learned that the heats were to be run on a Sunday, he switched to the 400 metre competition as he was not prepared to run on a Sunday. He won a gold medal for the 400 metres and a bronze medal for the 200 metres at the Paris Olympics.
After the Olympics and his graduation he returned to North China where he served as a missionary from 1925 to 1943 – first in Tientsin (Tainjin) and later in Siaochang. During his first furlough in 1932 he was ordained as a minister. On his return to China, he married Florence Mackenzie (of Canadian missionary parentage) in Tientsin in 1934. They had three daughters; Patricia, Heather and Maureen, who now all live in Canada.
Living in China in the 1930s was potentially very dangerous and in 1937 Eric was sent to Siaochang where he joined his brother Rob. He was now crossing the Japanese army lines.
In 1941 life in China was becoming so dangerous that the British Government advised British nationals to leave. Florence and the children left for Canada.
During 1941 – 1943 Eric stayed in Tientsin, then in 1943 he was interned in Weishien camp until his death in 1945.”
Dr. David J. Mitchell recollections
“I remember seeing Eric Liddell just the day before he died. For more than two years of our wartime captivity our school was interned in the same camp he was. That day he was walking slowly under the trees near the camp hospital beside the open space where he had taught us children to play basketball and rounders. As usual, he had a smile for everyone, especially for us children.
The athlete who had refused to run on a Sunday in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, but who later won the gold medal and created a world record in the 400 meters, was now, twenty-one years later at the age of forty-three, reaching the tape in his final race on earth. We knew nothing of the pain he was hiding, and he knew nothing of the brain tumour that was to take his life the next evening, on that February 21, 1945.
Sent to this same camp in Weihsien in August 1943 with many other missionaries’ children, I will forever share with all the other hero worshippers of my age that vivid memory of the first sight of the man whom other prisoners described excitedly as the Olympic gold medalist who wouldn’t run on a Sunday.
Eric Liddell stood out among the 1500 people packed into our camp that measured only 150 by 200 yards. He was in charge of the building where we younger children, who had already been away from our parents for four years because of the war, lived with our teachers. He lived in the very crowded men’s dormitory near us (each man had a space of only three by six feet) and supervised our daily roll call when the guards came to count us. One day a week “Uncle Eric” would look after us younger children, giving out teachers (all missionaries of the China Inland Mission and all ladies) a break. His gentle face and warm smile, even as he taught us games with the limited equipment available, showed us how much he loved children, missing his own so very much.”
In my prayers for many months I have asked for Barack Obama to be removed from office and that the truth about him be revealed.
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