Had Malcolm Howard ’05 never taken another stroke after his days with at Harvard had ended, his three straight undefeated years with the Crimson still would have earned him a place in school history.
Instead, Howard’s star has only shone brighter in the years following his graduation.
He won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the Canadian eight and made an impressive run on the world scene in the single.
But late this summer, Howard dropped his pursuit of individual glory and settled back into his old home in the middle of an eight just in time for 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, where the Canadians took bronze.
And now, Howard has just one goal: to be back on top of the world next summer in London.
Back in the day, only two freshman year dual races kept Howard and Aaron Holzapfel ’05 from an immaculate college career.
Barring those blemishes, the duo were unstoppable. Their freshman eight rallied from its early season losses to win Eastern Sprints.
With Howard and Holzapfel rowing, Harvard’s varsity eight never lost to a collegiate crew. Included among those victories were three straight IRA national championships in the varsity eight.
The summer after their 2004 championship, Howard, Holzapfel, and the rest of the 1V defeated the French and British national teams to make the finals of Henley Royal Regatta, where the boat was able to maintain overlap with the Dutch national team eight that would take silver at the Athens Olympics that summer.
The duo’s senior year was just as impressive. As the lone holdovers from the 2003 and 2004 crews, Howard and Holzapfel led a young Crimson crew to an undefeated season and a national title.
With three national titles in tow, Howard headed back up north to take his shot at the Canadian national team.
“Malcolm’s the best rower I’ve ever rowed with,” McDaniel said. “No one doubted at that point that Malcolm was going to win an Olympic gold medal.”
Three years later, Howard had a gold medal in hand. The accomplishment did not go unnoticed at Newell.
“In 2010, [the Crimson] named a boat after me,” Howard said. “The varsity boat is the “Malcolm Howard.” The first thing that Harry says [at the dedication] is, ‘Everyone always forgets that there were eight other guys in the boat.’ He was chuckling when he said that. Then he went on and said some really nice things.”
But by that time Howard no longer had eight other guys in his boat. A longtime veteran of the “Engine Room,” the middle four seats of the boat often reserved for the strongest rowers, Howard had decided to start racing the single.