George Nicol was born in Battersea, London on 28 Dec 1886 and lived at Underhill Road, East Dulwich. His athletics career began as a runner for Polytechnic Harriers, Westminster in 1907. Having set a UK 4x400y relay record in 1908, Nicol was selected to represent Great Britain at the 1908 London Olympics in the 400m. He won his first round heat in a time of 50.8 secs (the famous Noel Chavasse, V.C. & Bar was eliminated in the next heat) and came third in the semi-final, behind the eventual controversial winner, Wyndham Halswelle (Halswelle would win the only ever one-man walkover in Olympic history).
Nicol became an individual four-time finalist in the AAA 440y from 1908-1911 and won the title for three successive years 1912-14. He was again selected for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics; this time in the 400m individual and the inaugural running of the 4 x 400m relay. Nicol won his heat of 6 competitors in a time of 50.0 secs. In his semi-final, he again came 3rd to the eventual winner and world record holder, Charles Reidpath of the US. The 4 x 400m relay event featured 28 competitors from 7 different countries. Great Britain faced Canada in the first semi-final. Their team consisted of George Nicol, Ernest Henley, James Soutter and Cyril Seedhouse, with Nicol the lead-off runner. Great Britain set an inaugural Olympic record with 3:19.0, with the favourites and world-record holders, the United States, qualifying in third behind France with 3:23.3. In the final, Nicol was again lead-off, but pulled up with an injury and limped desperately to hand over to his change-over man. The famous American quartet posted a new World Record of 3.16.6, winning the gold, the French winning silver and Great Britain bronze, still able to post a time of 3.23.2.
Nicol went on to be a member of the famous Polytechnic Harriers medley relay team that set a world record at Glasgow in 1914. Around this period, he was one of the pioneers of Continental tours and led his club team to meetings in many Major European cities, producing some fine performances, setting the All-Comers record for 400m in Germany and Belgium, and was Austrian champion at 800m. On the outbreak of war, he joined the Royal Engineers Postal Section as a Sergeant and entered France on 2 Nov 1914, entitling him to a 1914 Star & Bar Trio (though his Medal Index Card shows his medals were remained unclaimed in his lifetime and not until 1997!) he was commissioned on 28 Sep 1915 and awarded the O.B.E. (Military Division) on 3 June 1919 and was Mentioned In Despatches on 8 Oct 1916, 23 Oct 1918 and 5 Mar 1919. Nicol was appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Army Postal Services and promoted to the rank of Acting Major on 9 Aug 1918. He also served during WWII, promoted to Controller of the London Postal Region on 1 Oct 1944.