Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Scotland's Greatest Athlete, Part 5

He that Honors Me
The Olympic Games

Paris, France: Sunday, July 6th, 1924
 Instead of going with the rest of the team from Britain to the Olympic stadium, Eric made his way to the Scottish Church of Paris where he was to preach.  In his heart, he knew that he had made the right decision.  Did he have any regrets?  Yes, but no doubts.  He was not going to race on the Lord’s Day.  And that was final. 

Paris, France: Wednesday, July 9th, 1924

200-metre race semi-finals
             As the temperature soared above one hundred, Eric again found his place on the track.  The American runner, Charley Paddock, was to his left. Paddock had taken fifth in the 100-metre race, and it was clear that he wanted revenge.


            At start of the gun, Paddock leapt ahead of Eric.  Then, both men ran side by side, until Eric put his trademark “windmill” style into action.  But just at the finish tape, Paddock pulled in front of Eric, winning the semi-finals with a time of 21.8 seconds. Just one tenth of a second faster than Eric!

200-metre race finals
            Eric doubted that he had enough energy to see the finals to its end. Paddock got off to a fast start, followed closely by the other runner from America, Jackson Scholz.  Harold Abrahams was somewhere behind Eric, the heat probably having sapped his energy as well.
            At the finish line, Eric edged out two other runners to finish in third place.  Later, there was an article about him in The Flying Scotsman entitled, “Thrilling Olympic Finishes” reporting that, “As usual, Liddell did not start too well but made a wonderfully fast finish.”



400-metre race finals
Eric extended his hand to the man who had helped Tom McKerchar give him a massage.  But the man only said a few words, handed a piece of paper to Eric, and walked away.  "Thanks, I'll read it at the stadium!"  He called after the man.  Eric slipped the note into his pocket, and it was forgotten at Mr. McKerchar and others greeted him.

Later, as he sat down in the dressing room, reached into his pocket, and happened upon the piece of paper.  He read the note, and bowed his head, "Thank you, God." he whispered to himself.  The message read, "In the Old Book it says, 'for them that honor Me, I will honor.' Wishing you the best of success always."

The runners were now getting into their positions.  As the gun went off, McKerchar started his stopwatch.  His jaw dropped.  Eric sprinted to the first turn, leading all the runners by three metres!  Checking it halfway through, McKerchar clocked Eric at 22.2 seconds.  At that pace, Eric would have won most 200-metre races.

In the final stretch, Tom, in spite himself, began imitating Eric, pumping his fists.  Eric Liddell of Scotland, with his face to the sky, finished in first place, setting a world record of 47.6 seconds!  He slowed to a stop, clutching his sides.  He had nothing left to give. as the band began playing, "God Save the Queen," Tom ran towards Eric, "You couldn't just win; you had to set a world record!" he cried above the  cheering crowd. Turning toward the crowd, Eric waved briefly.  He had won the 400-metre race - the first ever won by a Scotsman.

Eric Liddell - Number 451



Eric, before a relay race:

During the relay:

Hoping you all had a wonderful CHRISTmas, and that your New Year is wonderful too!

For His Glory,

4 comments:

  1. Great post, Lindsay. I'm really enjoying learning more about Eric Liddell!

    May God bless you and your family in this new year!

    His Princess,
    Bekah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad his life is a blessing to you!

      And may your New Year be blessed as well!

      Delete
  2. Woohoo! ;) I knew he could do it. Well, maybe no fully, but I had a feeling he would!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    ~ S. F.

    ReplyDelete

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