LONDON (1 April 2012) – Athletes in Action will present the Eric Liddell Award to one male and one female Olympian who demonstrate faith and character in the home, community and on the field of competition. The award presentation will take place at the More Than Gold Legacy Breakfast, set for 10 Aug. 2012.
The award is named for Scottish Olympian Eric Liddell who won gold and bronze medals for Great Britain at the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Liddell, who is best known for the portrayal of his Olympic experience in the movie Chariots of Fire, immediately stood out as an athlete who embodied the spirit of the Legacy Breakfast.
Liddell’s daughters Patricia Russell, Heather Ingham and Maureen Moore were pleased by the request to honour their father’s legacy of faith and service with the award.
“The daughters were very honoured,” AIA staff member Cindy White recalls. “Other organizations tried to use his name before, but [his daughters] didn’t just want his name to be used, they wanted his life to be remembered.”
Liddell’s life is one that event organizers believe should be celebrated. Born in 1902 in Tianjin, China, to Scottish missionaries, Liddell returned to China in 1925 as a missionary rather than training for further competition. By 1941, life in China had become so dangerous that Liddell sent his wife and daughters back to Great Britain. Two years later, he was interned in a Japanese POW camp, where he died in 1945, just four months before the end of World War II. After the war ended, stories of Liddell’s selflessness in starting a school and organizing sporting events for children in the camp began to surface.
“I’m so proud that under the severe pressures of camp life he remained faithful to all his principles. I like to think that he always walked in the light,” reflects Ingham.
“Eric is such a great model for character in sports, as a family man and as a Christian. He’s the type of person to raise up and inspire people to follow his example. His life was well integrated. His faith pervaded all of who he was,” says White.
The More Than Gold Legacy Breakfast will be held on 10 August 2012, at Central Hall Westminster in London. Although the recipients of the Liddell Award have not yet been announced, Russell and Ingham are looking forward to attending the breakfast and seeing their father’s legacy honoured.
“Good character is like a diamond in the rough. We hope that the Legacy Breakfast will place character on display in a way that is attractive and compelling, allowing the audience to see Jesus, the true source of it,” says Athletes in Action president Mark Householder.
The Legacy Breakfast is co-sponsored by Athletes in Action, More Than Gold and Agape UK. To learn more about the breakfast or to purchase tickets, visit http://legacybreakfast.org.
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