A new sports scholarship named in honour of Olympic hero Eric Liddell has been launched.
The Eric Liddell High Performance Sports Scholarships was announced during a visit by Patricia Russell, Liddell’s oldest daughter, who now lives in Canada.
Watch our video interview with Patricia Russell:
The Eric Liddell High Performance Sports Scholarships will ensure that student athletes will be better able to cope with the demands of competing at the highest level, no matter their financial circumstances.
A major initiative to fund the scholarships begins next month, backed by two of the University’s current Olympians, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy MBE and rower Dr Katherine Grainger MBE. Both credit the support they received from the University as being key to them winning their collective haul of eight Olympic medals.
The new scholarship fund will help ensure that every student athlete is given the opportunity to achieve their full sporting potential.
During her visit Mrs Russell, 77, viewed her father’s Olympic medals - the gold he won for the 400 metres and the bronze he took in the 200 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics - which the University cares for on behalf of the Liddell family.
On behalf of the Liddell family, I am delighted that our father is being honoured in this way. The scholarships perfectly capture his love of studying and athletics. Anything that helps today’s students follow in his footsteps is to be encouraged and supported. We look forward to seeing many more Olympic champions come from the University of Edinburgh.
Eric Liddell's daughter
Liddell was the University’s first Olympic hero. He won gold in the 400 metres at the Olympic games in Paris 1924 whilst studying Pure Science. He famously refused to compete in his best event, the 100 metres, because it was held on a Sunday. His triumph has been immortalised in several books, documentaries and the feature film, Chariots of Fire.
I can think of no better way of honouring Eric's name than through the creation of these Scholarships. They embody a important part of what Eric stood for, and make it possible for future generations to benefit, in a tangible way, from his unselfish example of a life well lived.
Lord David Puttnam
Producer of Chariots of Fire
The University societies cater for 24 of the 26 Olympic sporting disciplines. Edinburgh students and alumni have won 12 Olympic medals. If the University were a country, it would be placed 56th in the all-time medal list. The University has been in the top six universities for sport in the UK for the last six years.
As sport increasingly professionalises so does the pressure in time and costs to those wishing to compete at the highest level. This places a tremendous burden on our student athletes wishing to attain sporting success. At the University of Edinburgh we want to play our part in ensuring there is a legacy from this year’s games continuing into and beyond the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Eric Liddell High Performance Sports Scholarships is the next step in ensuring that vision.
Jim Aitken MBE
Director of the Centre for Sport and Exercise
This article was published on Aug 24, 2012