Paulo Radmilovic

Paulo Radmilovic

Paulo Francesco Radmilovic (March 5, 1886 – September 29, 1968) was a Welsh Water Polo player and Swimmer who won four Olympic titles in a 22 year Olympic career. He won four gold medals across three succesive Olympic Games, a record which stood for a British people until broken by Sir Steve Redgrave when he won his fifth gold medal at Sydney in 2000.citeweb|url=|title=Search for Olympian's four golds|publisher=BBC Wales|date=2008-07-17|accessdate=2008-07-17]


Radmilovic was born in Cardiff, Wales, the third son to Antun Radmilović, an ethnic Croat from Dubrovnik who relocated to Cardiff in 1860s and became the landlord of the Glastonbury Arms pub in Bute Street; his mother was born in Cardiff, the daughter of Irish immigrants.Fact|date=May 2008

wimming career

Radmilovic made his debut for the Welsh national water polo team at the age of 15 in 1901 and at the time was the youngest international player in the history of the sport. He competed in international Swimming and Water Polo for nearly 30 years and was still an active swimmer well into his seventies. He was also a competent golfer and footballer. []

He won his first Amateur Swimming Association title in 1907 when victorious in the open water 5 mile race in the River Thames. His noted versatility came to the fore two years later when he won the 100 yards freestyle. In all he won nine titles over a 19 year span at tremendously varying distances. His victories at the Welsh national championship took place over an ever greater timespan. A 100 yards title at the age of 15 in 1901 and a 440 yards victory at the age of 43 in 1929 book-ending his career.

Olympic career

His Olympic career began as a swimmer at the 1906 Intercalated Games where he finished 4th in 100 metres freestyle and 5th in the 400 metres event. In the 1 mile event he did not finish.

In 1908 he won a gold medal as part of the British Water Polo team that defeated Belgium 9-2 in the final. Radmilovic scored twice in the final. Two days later he was drafted into the 4x200 metre relay squad when another swimmer withdrew due to illness and swam the second leg of a dramatic race. Hungary appeared to be cruising to victory when anchor leg swimmer Zoltán Halmay began to lose consciousness in the water. Halmay struggled to the finish but Henry Taylor had touched four seconds earlier to give the British victory. Radmilovic also competed in three individual freestyle events but failed to make a final.

He won his third career gold as part of the British Water Polo team at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. The Austrians were defeated 8-0 in the final.

Radmilovic's fourth and final gold came at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp albeit in eventful circumstances. Great Britain and Belgium had impressed in reaching the final and the game itself was a tight one decided when Radmilovic scored to put the British 3-2 ahead. On the final whistle incensed Belgian spectators attempted to attack the British players. Armed police guarded the team as they left the pool.

He competed as a member of the British team in both the 1924 and 1928 Olympic water polo tournaments without medal success. He was 42 years old when his Olympic career ended.

His record of four gold medals was unrivalled by any British Olympian until Sir Steve Redgrave equalled and eventually broke it by winning his fifth title in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney

After death

Radmilovic died in Weston-super-Mare, England in 1968. He was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1967, and was one of the original ten sports people inducted in to the initial Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in 1988. A plaque is placed on the Cardiff International Pool to honour him, paid for by the 2012 London Olympics Committee and the Welsh Assembly.


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