The son of Scottish missionaries, Eric Liddell was born in China. At the age of six, he and his older brother were sent to a boarding school in England. As he grew, he excelled in athletics, participating on the cricket and rugby teams in addition to running track. Known as the “Flying Scotsman,” he won the AAA championships in 1923 in both the 100 yard and 220 yard races.

Results of his races made the newspapers as he became known as the fastest runner in Scotland. Many called him a potential Olympic winner – big news since no one from their country had won a gold before.

Then came the 1924 Olympic games in Paris. Because of his commitment to honor the Sabbath and not run on Sunday, he withdrew from the 100 meters, his best race. As he went to the starting blocks for the 400 meter race, an American slipped him a note containing a quote from 1 Samuel 2:30 – “Those who honour me I will honour.” Eric ran the race with the paper clutched in his hand. He not only won the race, but broke the existing world record.

In 1925, Eric returned to China to join his parents as missionaries. During the war in 1941, his wife and daughters left the country for safety and Eric joined his brother at a remote mission station. In 1943, the station was captured by the Japanese and Eric was sent to an internment camp. He died in 1945 from an inoperable brain tumor while serving the youth at the camp.

It was recently revealed by the Chinese government that Eric gave up a chance to be liberated from the camp. Evidently, as a famous athlete, he was selected to be part of a prisoner exchange. Instead, he gave his spot to a pregnant woman.

Eric Liddell ran the race marked out for him. A race that took him from China to England to Scotland to the Olympics in Paris and back to China. His choices will forever remain immortalized in the movie “Chariots of Fire”.

Or as Eric said it best: “I believe that God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

What about you? What are you doing when you feel God’s pleasure?

Friday Focus – Eric Liddell
Tagged on:     

2 thoughts on “Friday Focus – Eric Liddell

  • March 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm


    Whenever I am doing what God has in mind for me at that particular time and I feel such joy, that is when I know I am living the life He wants me to.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  • March 26, 2010 at 9:46 am

    >We maintain an archive of information and photographs about Eric Liddell on our web site which might be of interest:

    Eric Liddell

Comments are closed.