During one of the scenes in “Chariot’s of Fire” Abrahams is discussing running with his friend. Abrahams shares his thoughts on the theme of winning and losing. Abrahams tells him, “I don’t know” and states, “I’ve never lost.” Abrahams trained his entire life for the Olympic event and he goes on to state, “You know, I used to be afraid to lose. But now I’m afraid to win. I have ten seconds in which to prove the reason for my existence, and even then, I am not sure I will.” Abraham’s thinking is perceptive in that he realizes his quest for personal glory is coming to a close and his passion to win might dissipate. Personal glory is only so fulfilling and those who move towards it find that emptiness soon follows triumph because it can never fulfill the appetite of the spirit. Accolades can never deliver the fulfillment you want and glory is fleeting. Rockstars will tell you that chasing after that higher high on stage is elusive and the reasons for it are based in self-aggrandizement and narcissism.
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Juxtapose Abraham’s way of thinking with Liddell’s who states to his sister who chides him for focusing too much on the Olympic gold medal, “Jenny, God has made me for a purpose-for China. But He has also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure.” The movie speaks to us about men who asserted their own values in a time of classicism in Britain when their was prejudice against people belonging to a particular social class. Running set them free from an imposed systematic oppression of subordinated class groups but running gave them far more than that. Liddell goes on to defeat Abrahams who goes on to replay the defeat over and over in his memory. Prefontaine, Abrahams and Liddell had there own reasons and passions for running. Running was a way for those outsiders to be the best individuals they could be. What the movie does best is capture the exhilaration of running as a celebration of the spirit. The movie imbues in us a wistful affection for the past.
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