The character of Lindsay was based partially on Lord Burghley, a significant figure in the history of British athletics. Although Burghley did attend Cambridge, he was not a contemporary of Harold Abrahams, as Abrahams was an undergraduate from 1919 to 1923 and Burghley was at Cambridge from 1923 to 1927. One scene in the film depicts the Burghley-based "Lindsay" as practising hurdles on his estate with full champagne glasses placed on each hurdle – this was something the wealthy Burghley did, although he used matchboxes instead of champagne glasses. The fictional character of Lindsay was created when Douglas Lowe, who was Britain's third athletics gold medallist in the 1924 Olympics, was not willing to be involved with the film.
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