Chariots of Fire

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Harold Maurice Abrahams (1899—1978) athlete and civil servant

Eric Liddell (1902—1945) missionary and athlete


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A 1980 film based upon the athletic achievements of Englishman Harold Abrahams in his time as a Cambridge student, and Scottish preacher and missionary Eric Liddell, culminating in their medal-winning performances at the Paris Olympics of 1924. Scripted by Colin Welland and directed by David Puttnam, the film won the Oscar for best film. The aristocratic hauteur of the English amateur is depicted in the character of Lord Lindsay, loosely based upon the figure of David George Brownlow Cecil (1905–81), sixth Marquess of Exeter and Baron Burghley (the ‘hurdling lordship’). The scene in which Lindsay practises his hurdling technique with glasses of champagne balanced on the hurdles is contrasted with the analytical training methods of Abrahams, the mechanistic training drills of the US athletes, and the elemental hill-training of the sabbatarian Liddell.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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