Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Colonel John Keddie

There is a noteworthy, exhilarating scene in the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire, where the Scottish runner Eric Liddell (who was actually born in China and was the first China-born athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics) is knocked down in a race, gets back up and somehow manages to win the race by a nose. That scene is based on a true event.

Following that race, however, is a (fictitious) encounter between Liddell, Sam Mussabini and a "Colonel John Keddie, President of the SAAA". The latter character was made up as a tribute to a consultant for the film who provided expert guidance on Scottish amateur athletics and the person and faith of Eric Liddell, who is the real John Keddie.

John Keddie, author of the 2007 biography Running the Race: Eric Liddell, Olympic Champion and Missionary, as well as a biography of George Smeaton, a study of psalmody, and other writings, is still serving today as a minister of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

If you watch the movie, be sure to take note of this brief, but significant reference to the man who helped bring Eric Liddell's story to the silver screen.


  1. You might be interested in our web site about Eric Liddell and the work we do in his memory. John Keddie launched his book here in our building.


  2. Yes, indeed, I am a fan of your site on Facebook. Thank you for your labors, and God bless!