What could Eric Liddell have done on a rubberized track?

Eric Liddell's world record in the 400m was 47.6 on a cinder track with hand-dug starting blocks. The current world record is 43.03.

Liddell's time in the 100 yards of 9.7 seconds in 1923 stood as a British record for 35 years. That race is only 91.44m. A 100m preliminary during the 1924 Paris Olympics fell on a Sunday, so Liddell decided to pull out of the race. So we'll never know if he could have held that pace another 8.56m. If he could have that would have given him a time of 10.6 seconds. That was the Olympic record that year, set by his nemesis, Harold Abraham. The current record in the 100m is 9.58 seconds.

When I was in high school we had a cinder track, but there were many rubberized tracks around. We were always thrilled when we got to run on the newer tracks because we always had faster times. It would be interesting to know what Liddell could have done on a rubberized track with solid blocks and the kind of training athletes get today.

See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story by booking Beyond the Chariots.

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