Army Howard

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJohn Armstrong "Army"•Howard
Used nameArmy•Howard
Born6 October 1888 in Saint Paul, Minnesota (USA)
Died10 January 1937 in Winnipeg, Manitoba (CAN)
Measurements189 cm
Affiliations?, Winnipeg (CAN)
NOC Canada


Army Howard was the top Canadian sprinter from 1912-15, and won both the 100 y and 220 y at the 1913 Canadian Championships. He is also known as Canada’s first black Olympian and his selection for the 1912 Olympic delegation was controversial. Even after he was confirmed to participate, he was still forbidden to stay in the same hotels and his white teammates or eat with them on the journey to Sweden. Suffering from a stomach ailment, he did not make the finals of any of four events in which he participated at these Games. Howard was the son of a barber, and he became a mechanic in his youth, also playing baseball with Winnipeg’s Crescent Creamery Baseball Club, but running was his passion.

Howard served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force near the end of World War I and returned to Canada in 1920. In the meantime, he won bronze in the 100 metres at the 1919 Inter-Allied Games. He represented the Winnipeg North End Amateur Athletic Club (NEAAC). He then worked for six years with the Canadian National Railway and later ranched in the Riding Mountains and found employment as a boxing instructor. In 2004 he was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. His grandson, Harry Jerome, later became the top Canadian sprinter of the 1960s.

Personal Bests: 100 – 11.0 (1912); 200 – 22.3y (1911); 400 – 52.1y (1914).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1912 Summer Olympics Athletics CAN Army Howard
100 metres, Men (Olympic) AC h5 r2/3
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 3 h4 r2/3
400 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Canada 2 h3 r2/3
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Canada 2 h1 r1/2

Olympic family relations