Eric Liddell: Olympic champion inducted into Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame

Scottish Olympian Eric Liddell
Famed Olympian Eric Liddell was also a Scotland rugby international

Olympic champion Eric Liddell has been inducted into Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame on the 100th anniversary of his first cap.

Liddell won seven caps playing rugby for his country in the early 1920s.

He then established himself as one of the country’s top runners, culminating in his gold and bronze medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

The committed Christian did not to compete in the 100m heats, as they were on a Sunday, but triumphed in the 400m.

Liddell set a new world record in France, also won bronze in the 200m and his story was immortalised in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, released in 1981 – 36 years after his death.

He had followed in the footsteps of his parents by becoming a missionary, based in China, and died in an internment camp of a brain tumour.

During his international rugby career, Liddell – a wing three-quarter – scored tries against Ireland, France and Wales, being on a losing Scotland side just once.

Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame panel chairman John Jeffrey commented: “Since our Hall of Fame was established in 2010, we have regularly deliberated Eric Liddell’s status as one of Scotland’s greats.

“He epitomises the values of our game and his story is as relevant and inspiring today as it is in the yellowing pages of a newspaper archive.”

‘Once he got the ball, he was difficult to catch’

Liddell at Edinburgh University in 1924
Liddell at Edinburgh University in 1924

The sculpted cap that inductees receive was accepted on Liddell’s behalf by his niece Sue Caton, who hopes to display it at the Eric Liddell Centre in Morningside, Edinburgh.

His daughter, Patricia Liddell Russell, said: “When my father’s sporting achievements are remembered, often no mention is made that he played seven times for Scotland and scored a number of tries.

“Once he got the ball, he would be very difficult to catch. He was clearly a very much appreciated member of the team.

“I say a profound ‘thank you’ to all who have been involved in arranging this honouring of my father and wish everyone a very healthy and happy New Year.”

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