Based on actual events, Chariots of Fire endearingly memorializes the individual and team exploits of the British track and field squad before and during the 1924 Olympic Games. We can enjoy several subthemes of Sports from the movie.
Edgar Degas captured the edgy anticipation before the start of a horse race. Thoroughbreds prance and shy and jockeys maneuver before the spectators as a frisson of excitement radiates from the painting. This elegant scene evokes other thoughts about Sports.
Paul Simon matches the difficult life of a poor boy in the big city to the batterings a boxer suffers in the ring. Blow after disappointing blow lands, like on the boxer, but the young boy still remains, because what are his meager choices, and what are his dreams? The sports metaphor introduces several subthemes.
A.E. Housman chose a metaphor from sports, but his poem conveys more broadly a truth about reputation: celebrities often outlive their fame, and ungracefully, if the name died before the man. By ironic contrast, the young winner of a footrace – that early-laurelled head – died within a short time thereafter, while the laurel garland of his honor remained fresh. The poem brings to mind other aspects of Sports.