Biography:

John “Army” Howard competed at Stockholm 1912 where he became Canada’s first Black Olympian.

Though his selection to the Canadian Olympic Team was historic, it was also controversial, resulting in racist coverage in the newspapers of the day. He was forbidden from staying in the same hotel as his white teammates when they gathered together in Montreal prior to boarding the boat that would take them across the Atlantic Ocean.

Howard was a top-ranked sprinter in the 100m and 200m, but a stomach ailment in Stockholm left him unable to race at his best and he did not advance to the finals in either of his individual events nor the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. A year after his Olympic debut, Howard became the Canadian champion in 100 yards and 220 yards.

Howard served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I and won 100m bronze at the 1919 Inter-Allied Games. His grandchildren, Harry and Valerie Jerome, would follow in his footsteps and become Olympians at Rome 1960. Harry Jerome would go on to win 100m bronze at Tokyo 1964.