Christian athletes honoured with Eric Liddell awards

As the London 2012 Olympic Games drew to a close, More Than Gold, a Christian outreach organisation that seeks to enable local churches to engage with big sporting events in host cities around the world hosted the inaugural Legacy Award breakfast in honour of Eric Liddell.

The Eric Liddell Award honours one male and one female Olympian who display outstanding character at home, in their community and on the field of competition. The award is given in memory of Eric Liddell, winner of the gold and bronze medals for Great Britain at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Liddell is best known for the portrayal of his Olympic experience in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire.

The male recipient of the award was the 2008 Olympic decathlon gold medallist from the USA, Bryan Clay.

He told 2K Plus International Sport Media: “It’s a huge award, it means a lot to me that people think that what I do off the track is worthy of praise. My faith plays a huge role in my life and it’s amazing that somebody recognises that.”

The female athlete honoured at this inaugural event was British rower and double Olympic silver medallist, Debbie Flood.

Beyond his athletic successes, Liddell is known for his consistent character and strong Christian faith. Following the 1924 Olympics, he chose to return to his birthplace in China as a missionary, rather than train for further competition. By 1941, life in China had become so dangerous that Liddell sent his wife and daughters back to Great Britain. Two years later, he was interned in a Japanese POW camp, where he died in 1945, just four months before the end of World War II.”

His eldest daughter, 77 year old Patricia Liddell Russell said, “He was a wonderful dad and it’s great the award is given to these athletes because there’s more to winning gold than winning gold.’’