In 1924, Eric Liddell ran 9.7 seconds for the 100 – 100 yards that is, not meters, which is equivalent to 91.44 meters.
Yes, it’s hard to believe we have only increased (or decreased) 8.56 meters or 28 feet – 1 inch in the last 84 years! (Thanks to Matt Bogdanowicz for pointing this out)
Who the heck is Eric Liddell?
Eric Liddell was made famous at the Paris 1924 Olympics by winning the 400 meters when he discovered the 100m heats were held on a Sunday several months earlier. He was not boarding the plane to Paris as in the movie Chariots on Fire.
Little known facts include a bronze medal in the 200 meters at the same Olympics behind Americans Jackson Scholz and Charles Paddock. We almost had the first man to win Golds at the 200 meters and 400 meters at the same Olympics!
Liddell was also selected to run the 4 x 100 relay and 4 x 400 relay teams at the Olympics but declined these spots as their heats were held on a Sunday as well.
On the day of the 400 metres finals, an American massage therapist slipped a piece of paper in his hand with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honor me I will honor” as Liddell went to the starting blocks.
It is rumoured Eric Liddell ran with that piece of paper in his hand
Of course, the movie Chariots on Fire is filled with various inconsistencies and errors, but we can save that rant for another blog post.
For more information on Eric Liddell:
Eric Liddell: Pure Gold: A New Biography Of The Olympic Champion Who Inspired Chariots Of Fire
In Canada: ERIC LIDDELL: PURE GOLD
In USA: ERIC LIDDELL: PURE GOLD
In Canada: Chariots Of Fire (Two-Disc Special Edition)