Eric Liddell

by Alyssa from Aurora, Ontario

Olympics Hero from Great Britain

If you asked most people who they thought was a great hero, famous names like George Washington, or Harriet Tubman might come to mind. My hero is a person who was not as well-known as these amazing men and women. His name is Eric Liddell, a great missionary and Olympic champion. I admire this man because he was an incredible athlete, and because of the way he held so strongly to what he believed to be right.

This is a portrait of Eric Liddell <br> (
This is a portrait of Eric Liddell

“When I run, I feel God’s pleasure,” are the words of the young athlete called Eric Liddell. Eric was born in China to missionary parents on January 16, 1902. In his early childhood years, the Liddell family moved from China to Scotland, and then later to London, England. Eric’s outstanding skills for running began when he was still in his teens. At sixteen, his time of 10.2 seconds broke his school record for the 100-yard race. Although running was his favorite of all sports, he also enjoyed being the captain of his school’s rugby and cricket teams. Even though he always beat everyone else in sports, the praise never went to his head. This young man always remained humble, and never became overly proud. He knew that his accomplishments were the result of a lot of hard work. When he was twenty-two, he tried out for the Olympics and made it onto the British team.

One of the reasons why Eric Liddell is an extraordinary hero is because he refused to run on a Sunday. When he heard that the first Olympic 100 meter race was to be held on this day, he boldly said, “I’m not running.” He believed that this day was special, and he never had run on a Sunday before. So instead of being on the track that Sunday with all of the other racers, Eric was at church. His country called him a traitor, and it seemed like the world had turned its back on him, but Eric held onto his beliefs; even to the point when the Prince of Wales begged him to change his mind! Eric’s resolution not to run was so strong that he turned down the Prince’s pleadings, as well as his country’s.

Although it seemed that Eric had let Britain down, he showed what he could do in the next competition. In the 400 meter race, Eric beat the runner-up by an amazing fifteen meters! He won the Olympic gold and the world record for the race. Later, although he was now a famous celebrity, Eric decided to return to his family who had moved back to China. There he became a missionary to the Chinese people.

This man was a hero because he was not afraid to stand up for what he believed was right. Eric also showed perseverance in always trying to do his best till the very end. I think that these are some of the characteristics that make a person a true hero.

Page created on 11/9/2011 10:28:18 AM

Last edited 1/9/2017 4:31:59 PM

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Related Links

The Eric Liddell Centre - Read more about Eric Liddell
Chariots of Fire - Film based on Eric Liddell's participation in the 1924 Summer Olympic Games

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