Vincent Paul Nihill (September 5, 1939 – December 15, 2020) was the Croydon Olympian who took silver in the 50km walk at the 1964 Tokyo Games and went on to compete in three other Olympic Games before retiring. Better known as Paul Nihill, this road was named after him on August 19, 2016 in a ceremony organised by Croydon Council and developer Bellway Homes. Nihill held the world record for the 20km distance for some years, and competed in two further 50km races in the Olympics of 1968 and 1972, as well as the 20km distance in 1976. His 1968 race saw him collapse after 44km due to the high-altitude conditions in Mexico. This was his only defeat in 86 races between 1967 and 1970. He was born in Colchester but moved to Croydon aged two in 1941, and in later life moved to Chatham. The Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor said: “Paul Nihill represents a breed of UK athletes who have discovered their talent whilst at school and have shown determination and courage to rise to the very top of their chosen fields. He is a very deserving recipient of this honour and it’s fantastic that over the years he has given up so much of his time to encourage others to follow in his – very fast – footsteps.” Mr Nihill said: “It is a great honour to be recognised with such a permanent accolade. I’ve always been proud to have been raised in Croydon, and actually lived just round the corner from where Bellway is developing the new homes. Watching the Olympics in London four years ago, and in Rio this summer, is very exciting, and brings back lots of memories.” He died at a Kent nursing home having contracted Covid-19. In a tribute to the former Olympian InsideCroydon.com made the observation that “Nihill Walk might have been more fitting”.
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