Legendary athlete takes centre stage

A film depicting the life of Eric Liddell, Olympic gold medallist and Edinburgh graduate, is returning to cinema screens.

Chariots of Fire - the 1981 production which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture - has been re-released to coincide with the London Games.

The gala screening of the re-mastered print took place in Edinburgh - the city described by the film’s producer, Lord Puttnam, as its spiritual home.

Eric Liddell, a committed Christian, won the 400 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics after refusing to run in his favoured event, the 100 metres, because it took place on a Sunday.


In this film, Lord Puttnam explains what Eric Liddell means to him.

Liddell's life

Born in China in 1902 to Scottish missionary parents, Eric Liddell returned to the country of his birth in 1925 to continue the work of his mother and father.

He was interned in a camp by the Japanese in 1943. Malnourished and having suffered what he described as a nervous breakdown, Liddell died of a brain tumour in February 1945, five months before Japan’s surrender.


As one of Edinburgh’s most famous alumnus, Eric Liddell is honoured in a variety of ways around the University, with a gym in the Centre for Sport and Exercise named in his memory and a bronze statue on prominent display in Old College.

In June 2012, the Eric Liddell High Performance Sports Scholarships were launched, to help student athletes cope with the demands of competing at the highest level, no matter their financial circumstances.

The new scholarship fund will help ensure that every student athlete is given the opportunity to achieve their full sporting potential.

Supporting sporting achievements

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.