My favorite type of book is a biography and I recently read a particularly good one.
For the Glory, Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by Duncan Hamilton is (obviously) the story of Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame. But he was so much more than an Olympic champion – in fact that is just one day in a fascinating life.
(This is a fairly new book so easy to find if you’re interested.)
By the way – the picture below is of West Sands Beach in St. Andrews, Scotland where the opening and closing shots of the movie were set. The beach is right next to St. Andrews Golf Course. I had the privilege of taking this picture while in Scotland (which was indeed a privilege – I loved Scotland.)
Read below the picture to read about some interesting facts I learned.
- He was smart, graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in science.
- He was part of the Scottish National Rugby Team.
- He was not the stoic, serious athlete portrayed in Chariots of Fire, but had a great sense of humor and was liked by everyone.
- This was not the first Olympics where athletes refused to run on Sundays. In the previous Paris Olympics, several Americans dropped out because of it.
- Eric know about the Sunday race months before and the British Olympic Committee was supposedly going to do something about it, but didn’t get around to it.
- Eric was also not the only one who didn’t race on Sunday in the 1924 Olympics either (the one Chariots of Fire was based on).
- He was good friends with Eileen Soper who was a world-renown artist, illustrating children’s books. They carved their initials in a tree. Eileen painted a portrait of Eric which is in a gallery today.
- He could’ve continued running and easily won medals in the next Olympics, but he walked away from running glory to be a missionary in China. (His parents were missionaries in China.)
- He married Florence, a true partner in ministry and they had two daughters.
- When life got dangerous in China because of the Japanese aggression, he sent his wife and two daughters home – his wife was pregnant with daughter #3. He never saw his family again.
- He ended up in a Japanese prison camp where he became the camp leader, showing kindness to everyone, organizing games, teaching Bible studies.
- He died in camp of a brain tumor.