Friday, 20 January 2012
The 1924 Olympics earned its place in cinematic history (and immortalised Vangelis) through the 1981 film 'Chariots of Fire'... The film told the story of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. Liddell was well known as the fastest man in Scotland and for his devout Christianity. He was forced to withdraw from the 100m after refusing to run a heat on a Sunday and set his sights on the 400 instead. When the day of the Olympic 400 metres race came an American team masseur slipped a piece of paper into his hand with a quotation from the book of Samuel: "Those who honor me I will honor."
The pipe band of the 51st Highland Brigade played outside the stadium before the race and inspired by the biblical message and the pipe music, Liddell scorched the first 200 metres to be well clear of the favoured Americans. He was challenged all the way but held on to take the win, breaking the existing world record with a time of 47.6 seconds.
Abrahams won the 100 m in a time of 10.6 seconds. In third place was Arthur Porritt. The race took place at 7pm on 7th July and Abrahams and Porritt dined together at 7pm on 7th July every year thereafter.
Jonny Weissmuller, better known for his role in the Tarzan movies, made his first Olympic appearance, taking 3 medals in swimming and one in water polo.
The Paris Olympics is reported to have lost a smidge over 450,000 francs, well worth it for the spectacle of Nigel Havers in his shorts.