Eric Liddell was born to missionary parents in China in 1902. When Eric and his family went to their home in Scotland on furlough (a break for a missionary) he and his brother Robert were enrolled in Eltham Collage where most of the missionary's sons went to get an education. Eric and Robert excelled in athletics. When WW1 started most of the older boys went to fight and Robert went to university.
Eric ended up training in the finals for the Scottish athletes in the Paris Olympics. He was amazingly good at the 100 meters. But when Eric got the race timetables he found that the 100 meters race was on a Sunday. So he refused to run the 100 meters race. But he amazingly won the 400 meter race setting a new world record at 47.6 seconds. He had (before the race) decided to go back to china to serve as a missionary, but the boat to China left 15 minutes after the race so he had a taxi packed with his stuff waiting close to the finish line so that he could keep running to the taxi and go to the docks. But as he passed the finish line the band started playing "God Save The King" in honor of him, so he stopped out of respect and waited for the band to finish but just as he got to the taxi door the band started playing the French national anthem in honor of the man who came second, so he stopped again. Eventually he got to the docks but the boat was already about 20 meters of shore so he tried signaling the captain but the people on board didn't recognize him. Then a wave pushed the ship closer to the docks so Eric hurled his luggage on board and made a running leap to the boat, he made it and a news reporter saw him and the next day he was in the headlines as "The Flying Scotsman".
Eric went to the same missionary station that his parents had worked at. His father and mother now lived in a mansion in the British section of Tientsin. Another interesting story from his life was when he had to get coal to a hospital but he kept on being robbed of the money for the coal, so he hid the money in a loaf of bread. He also had to transport injured people to the hospital because of the war between the Japanese, the Communists, and the Nationalists.
Eric was married to Florence (Flo) McKenzie on the 27th of March, 1934. Eric sent Florence and their kids to Canada because of the war. Eric was taken to Weihsien Internment Camp with some other people. He died there on the 21st of February, 1945, just days before the American GI's liberated the camp. In 1981 a biographical film called "Chariots Of Fire" was made about him.
I got these stories and information from reading the Christian Heroes Then and Now series book titled: "Eric Liddell, Something Greater Than Gold". It's a very interesting and well written book by Janet and Geoff Benge. I liked his remembrance of the Sabbath and his courage in the face of war.
Written by Tiger