Who is Paulo Radmilovic and what is his connection to Weston-super-Mare?
PUBLISHED: 11:10 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:52 31 March 2017
A blue plaque is being unveiled in Weston-super-Mare today (Thursday) to recognise Olympic swimmer and water polo player Paulo Radmilovic.
It has been installed at the Imperial, in South Parade, and he will be the first Weston icon to receive such an honour as part of a new Mercury and Weston Town Council campaign, being launched today.
Paulo Radmilovic is one of Great Britain’s most successful Olympians. He is seventh on the list for gold medals won – behind the likes of Chris Hoy and Steve Redgrave and he won more gold medals than any other British swimmer.
‘Raddy’, as he was known, was born in Wales and was selected for the national water polo side at the age of 15.
He moved to Weston-super-Mare in 1904, and all his Olympic successes came while he lived in the town.
A first taste of Olympic competition came in 1906 at the Intercalated Games, which is no longer recognised as an official Games.
He went on to complete at five Olympics either side of World War One – winning gold medals at three of them.
In a remarkable career spanning two decades, he won numerous English and Welsh titles.
He ran the Imperial Hotel, in South Parade, for many years and was still swimming at the age of 78.
He continued to be involved in water sports as a referee throughout his time in Weston, and he was also a keen golfer, boxer and snooker player.
In 1967, he was the first British swimmer to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1967.
He died a year later, in 1968, and was buried in Milton Road cemetery. The seafront bar Raddy’s still bears his name.
* Weston Town Council is planning to provide 12 more blue plaques in the town. A shortlist has been drawn up, and next week you can decide which plaque you would like to see go up first. To view the list, pick up a copy of the Weston Mercury on April 6 and log onto www.westonmercury.co.uk to vote.