You usually don’t associate the summer months with collegiate athletics. But for a number of reasons—one big one being the Olympics—the summer of 2012 was different for Harvard athletes. Here are just a few of the memorable moments from an incredible three months, in no particular order.
Legendary Baseball Coach Joe Walsh Passes Away
On July 31st the Harvard athletic community was shocked and saddened by the news of the sudden passing of one of the most energetic and popular characters to grace the Crimson with his presence. Not only did Joe Walsh’s passing affect current and former members of the Harvard baseball team, but it inspired former crimson editor Martin Bell to write a heart-warming and saddening tribute to the man who cared much more about who you were than what you did or where you came from. Rest in Peace, Coach.
Esther Lofgren ’05-07 and Caryn Davies ’04-05 Win Gold
Coming into the Olympics, the USA women’s eight was riding a five year unbeaten streak that dated back to Davies’ gold medal winning row in the 2008 Beijing Games. Fellow alum Lofgren narrowly missed out on making that boat in 2008, but in London the pair made good and defended the title, taking home the only golds of the Olympics for former Harvard athletes.
Malcolm Howard ’06 Wins Silver
Joining the pair of Radcliffe rowers on the Olympic podium was legend of the sport Malcolm Howard. The most successful Crimson rower and the namesake of the 1V’s boat, “Malcolm,” Howard returned after winning gold in Beijing to help take home silver for Canada in the men’s eight.
Henrik Rummel ’09 Wins Bronze
Rummel and his boatmates—a crew that had never raced competitively together before these Olympics—earned a spot on the podium with their performance on the water at Eton Dorney.
Henrik Rummel ’09 Stands Erect on Olympic Podium
Strangely, it was what transpired on the podium that will stand out in the memories of most onlookers. Rummel rose to internet fame for this fateful picture that displayed his manhood to the world.
Temi Fagbenle ’15 becomes youngest member of Team GB women’s basketball team
The results on the court for Fagbenle and her Team GB teammates left something to be desired, as they went winless in group play before being eliminated from the competition. But Fagbenle’s presence on the court was notable in and of itself. After sitting out her freshman year due to NCAA eligibility issues, Fagbenle became the youngest player to make the women’s basketball team for the hosts, and the only current Harvard undergraduate at the Games.
Andrew Campbell ’14-15 comes third at senior world championships
Andrew Campbell took time off last spring to pursue a spot on the US Olympic team, and though he came up just short his success at such a young age earned him rower of the year honors from USRowing. After the Olympics were over, Campbell returned to the international circuit and, still eligible to compete in the U-23 championships, finished third at the 2012 senior rowing championships in Bulgaria.
Men’s Basketball Team tours Italy
Coming off the best pair of seasons in program history, the men’s basketball team toured Italy this August in a series of pre-season matches against Italian professional squads. The Crimson came away 4-0 as sophomores Wes Saunders and Kenyatta Smith shined, hinting that good things are still to come for coach Tommy Amaker’s side.
Men’s Heavyweight Crew wins Ladies’ Plate at Henley Royal Regatta
Though the Olympics are the pinnacle of the sport, there is nothing more classic to rowing than the Henley Royal Regatta every summer on the Thames. This year, the Harvard men’s 1V went head-to-head with the famed Leander Rowing Club in the final of the Ladies’ Plate Challenge beating the Brits in a furious sprint in the last 50 meters.
Alex Meyer ’10 and Samyr Laine ’06 fall short in their respective competitions, win over fans with their incredible stories
The two most inspiring Harvard Olympians came up just short in their pursuit of hardware at London 2012. But Laine’s campaign to promote athletics in his parents’ homeland of Haiti and Meyer’s commitment to swim for his fallen friend Fran Crippen touched the hearts of people around the world.