‘Bring me my Chariot of Fire’ is the recently published, true story of the Oscar-winning film written by OG Hugh Shields (Reid’s 78-82). With a forward by sprinting Olympian Allan Wells MBE, ‘Bring me my Chariot of Fire’ tells the story of two of Great Britain’s finest Olympic athletes, Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, whose life stories’ were immortalised in the award-winning film, Chariots of Fire.
“Their (Liddell and Abrahams) achievements at the 1924 Paris Olympics are the stuff of legend,” says Shields, “I want to place on record straight away that I think the film is magnificent. It beautifully evokes the two main characters and captures their respective entourages, including the great coach, Sam Mussabini, with great charm.” He continues: “Like many films, Chariots of Fire contains elements of dramatic licence. In writing this book, I have sought to tell the true story to the extent that it is possible to glean after all these years.”
Shields’ viewed Liddell as a long-held hero, having first learnt about the great runner – and committed Christian – while at school in Glenalmond’s Chapel. “That morning, one of the teachers spent ten minutes introducing us to this most remarkable of men,” he noted, “First and foremost, Eric was a Christian and a man who lived his life through God.”
Another personal connection to the main characters for Shields is that he attended the same Cambridge college, Gonville and Caius, as Harold Abrahams. Additionally, Shields also won a Blue at the university and captained the college athletics team some 60 years after Abrahams.
Meticulous researched, the book is a fascinating insight into the Olympians’ preparation and journey to, and beyond, one of athletics most enduring stories.