A century after winning gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics legendary Christian athlete Eric Liddell is set to inspire a new generation of athletes and believers after his story was immortalised in the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire.

The Flying Scotsman is known for his unwavering faith in God and his refusal to compromise his beliefs. In Paris, he withdrew from the 100 metres which was his best event because the heats were held on a Sunday and he refused to compete or train on the Sabbath. He won the 400 metres in a new world record and took bronze in the 200 metres.

The next year he returned to China where he was born to missionary parents to continue their work. During the Japanese occupation of China, he was taken to a prisoner-of-war camp after refusing offers to leave the country so that he could continue his missionary work. Eric died in the camp from an inoperable brain tumour five months before the liberation of China.

His story is now being retold in a booklet created by British evangelist J. John. A million copies will be given away at this year’s Paris Olympics and Paralympics starting from July 26 to inspire conversations about God. It’s entitled Running the Race of Your Life.

The evangelist said he had always been inspired by Eric Liddell’s story leading to his booklet initiative. “The fact that both the 1924 and 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games take place in Paris cannot be a coincidence,” he observed.

In the booklet J. John asks three questions:

  • What takes priority in our lives?
  • What controls how we live?
  • What price are we prepared to pay?

Christian Today reports the reaction of Bethany Firth, a six-time British Paralympian gold medallist:

“My husband and I read Running the Race of Your Life and it was such an insight. I had heard of Eric Liddell, but I didn’t actually know his story. It has really made me remember the importance of putting God first and letting everything else follow”

“Eric Liddell didn’t let his sporting achievements define him, instead he allowed them to shine a light on how truly amazing God is, and no matter what we face in life, putting God first is always the answer. This is an amazing way to show what God has done and can do when we put him first.”

Professional footballer and founder of Ballers in God John Bostock said it was: “A powerful and timely reminder of an incredible life of sacrifice that was spent for Jesus rather than things that fade. This little booklet prompted deep reflection on my life’s priorities.”

Article from Vision Christian Media
Photo: Wikimedia Commons