Harry Mahon, 1942 - 2001.
Harry was one of the most remarkable rowing coaches and individuals.
His influence on the world of our sport cannot be overestimated, and he will
be sorely missed.
The Rowing Service offers its sympathy to his family and
friends, and is proud to be amongst the latter.
May the rowing community continue its endless quest for perfection, in memory and honour of Harry Mahon
To put your own message here, use the online posting form. Messages are collected and published regularly, most recent at the top. The page can still be updated if anyone would like to send more messages, it is a very unusual tribute to a very special man. Feel free to write.
Nigel Toy, Vancouver, Canada, Thursday July 12th, 16:58
A Tribute to HARRY MAHON
I have had the good fortune to have known Harry Mahon for nearly 40 years. We
first met as teacher trainees, identifying a shared indifference to the tutors
imposed on us! Our early lives seemed inextricably bound, teaching, flatting &
playing sports together,as well as deriving so much pleasure from coaching,
socializing & seeing the funny side of life. Harry was an immediate success as
a coach & his 1st National Secondary School Rowing title was acquired in 1966.
Over subsequent years we were to travel & roam many parts of the world, often
with no money & nowhere to sleep. Ontario became our eventual destination & it
was from there Harry began to push his passion for rowing to new bounds. As
they say, the rest is history.
In all the inevitable twists & turns that lives invariably take we never seemed
far apart. He came to know my wife Carolyn as a great friend & was a virtual
uncle to our children, Kelley & Neil. I have lost count of the hundreds of
evenings we ate, talked & supped. Our last meeting at Easter this year seemed
so much like the others.
Harry Mahon was the consumate friend; not just to me ,but also countless of
others. He valued friendship & worked at it harder than most of us to
strengthen the bonds. If I ever let my pursuits take precedence over all else,
there was Harry's gentle presence to remind me that fellowship is more
important than career building.
I am constantly drawn to analyze what make some people great. I truly believe
it is the ordinary person who sets out to accomplish his very best in all
things. Harry was a wonderful ordinary person; he had an urgency to his Coach
of Rowing that belied his casual disposition. What was to make him unique & a
colossus in the sport was simply that he coached everybody as if they were
destined to become Olympic Champions. The world today fawns over celebrities,
but it is the genuine person with a passion who changes our lives. Harry Mahon
I will cherish from Harry so many intimate & personal memories. At the
forefront are his incredible humour, compassion & loyalty. The cancer only
seemed to lift those qualities in him. I know his courage staggered us all. The
will to fight on, never feeling sorry for himself & finding so much time for
others .... that will be his profound legacy.
Harry Maintained an ongoing respect for Rita, he adored his sisters & found a
truly remarkably love with Sarah. On behalf of my family, we offer heartfelt
sympathy to them but with the knowledge that you have shared part of your life
with an extraordinary person. So many have mourned his passing with a great
reverence as I also do.
Portions of this tribute were read out at Harry's memorial service at Radley
Mike Thompson, St. Catharine's Ontario, Canada, Thursday June 28th, 12:03
Hi Harry! We're just back from the Henley Women's Regatta. I know it's
late, but I wanted to reserve this tribute for when we returned. As a former
coach of our club, men and women from that time have gone on to personal glory
under your tutelage, and, in turn, as coaches, have directed and inspired many
of the next generation in like fashion. I had the opportunity to know you from
the perspective of athlete and coach. I continue to coach using your methods,
although several of the tributes recorded here have opened my eyes to new
In one ninety-minute training session, I learned so much by just listening to
you quietly coach several athletes under my care on a cold, blustery November
afternoon in St. Catharines. Your first words to each sculler were :"What do
you feel?" Each of the three junior girls immediately relaxed and opened up to
you: it was extraordinary! We were joined in the coach boat by Kathy Lichty
Boyes, who couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride along with you one more
time, even in the foul weather. I remember asking Kathy, who had been coached
by you in her days as member of the National Team, if she heard anything new in
your coaching: "No, pretty much the same thing as before", was her reply. The
pursuit of perfection never goes out of style...
Harry, when we determined we would send a crew from our club to England to race
at the Henley Women's Regatta, and coupled with the suggestion on this tribute
page that perhaps something could be done at the HWR in tribute to you, we
thought that a silent tribute would be most appropriate and best -- most in
keeping with the person that is Harry. Our racing uniforms had 'Harry'
included on the left strap, close to the heart. That's where you have been for
so many of us, and where you'll be for generations of rowers far after we have
Our trip was successful both on and off the water. We had outstanding racing
versus excellent crews from England. Thanks for the privilege of knowing you,
Harry. "Now, Now, Now!"
Matt Mannington, Monday June 25th 10:39
When growing up with rowing and sport in my school years Harry was always
some one I looked up to, NZ was very lucky.
Saturday, 23 July 2001, 2.00 pm, Waikato Rowing Club, Hamilton, New
This was Harry's party at his spiritual rowing home. Everyone was
there - Harry's sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews, a team of rowing
folk from Wanganui where Harry started in rowing, neighbours and friends,
rowing officials past and present, coaching colleagues, and especially athletes
- from his own Waikato Rowing Club and from generations of national junior,
Senior B and elite teams, in many cases there with their youngsters. And
proudly amongst us were Harry's beloved Sarah and her Dad out from the UK.
Warren Cole, President of Waikato Rowing Club, said this was Harry's party.
And so it was, with those pockets not so deep or Harry's arms grown a little
longer!! This was Harry's "shout", the party he had himself organised in a
series of telephone calls just a few short weeks ago. As had been his
command, speeches were few, brief, and not sad. There was laughter as Harry
had wished. This was to be a celebration of Harry's life and his tremendous
achievement in helping so many fellow human beings. While most have been
rowing athletes, or perhaps coaches like myself, Harry's talent lay beyond his
sport, for he helped others too to manage their lives, set their goals, and
embark on an expedition of achievement - and hopefully not cutting as fine as
Harry did the check-in for those international air flights!
Niece Rebecca, long time friend and confidante (and a past New Zealand cricket
representative) John Parker and yours truly, Tim Richardson, spoke within their
allotted framework, of the quiet achiever, of the eccentricities, and of the
lovable and loving qualities of a quite remarkable man. The success of the
Radley crews at the British school nationals after his death did not go
unnoticed as an example of the legacy Harry left the rowing community - and
which we must not too quickly forget. Others have in their many tributes
much more eloquently than I spoken of Harry's achievements in coaching rowing.
Much more will inevitably be spoken of him in years to come. Harry and I both
shared in the incredibly good fortune of coming under the influence of the late
W H (Bill) Eaddy ONZM, whose simple explanation of the rowing stroke and the
connection between water, boat and body in a quick, explosive movement, gave
both of us the base from which to work in the quest for the faster boat.
Harry's willingness to innovate, and his confidence in his understanding of
bio-machanics and boat dynamics became the hallmark of the man so many in
rowing admire and respect.
Some of us in New Zealand regret the inadequate use in later times made of
Harry's talents. But even when the reign of Harry as chief coach, and of his
two lieutenants, Sam Le Compte and Paul Westbury was coming to an end, the
fleet of Rowing New Zealand vehicles outside my Tauranga home signalled not the
makings of a coup d'etat in New Zealand rowing, but a meeting of friends in
rowing, discussing strategies and re-affirming their mutual respect and
support, as the brothers in rowing we all were. I guess that places Harry in
the very midst of the international rowing family. In triumph and adversity,
we share, albeit with our different emotional responses and our various
personality traits. In it all we share one passion - Harry's passion - rowing
and the perfect rowing stroke.
Yesterday was Harry's party, Harry's "shout" or "round". We celebrated the
life of a remarkable human being and a rowing coach with out technical peer.
We had a "bloody good time" and many a good laugh. Thanks, Harry.
Tim Richardson, Tauranga, New Zealand, Sunday June 24th, 01:58
John O'Loghlen, London, Wednesday June 20th, 20:23
The tributes keep flowing and the mere mortals down here keep reflecting in
the afterglow you leave behind.
On the ergometer today I can not suppress the echoes of your insights and
chattery coaching commentary: "let the machine come to you".
Superb memories and a lifelong chance for us all to apply what we learnt day
in and day out.
Jim Wood, Wednesday June 20th, 11:11
Thankyou Harry for all the support and help for Charlie and Rosie.
Thankyou for all the kind words of support when things did not seem to be
going our way. Thankyou for the long phone calls and the really positive
approach to life. We will still talk to you in our heads. Jim Wood.
Leighton Smith, Invercargill
Rowing Club, Invercargill, New Zealand, Tuesday June 19th, 01:41
When Harry Met The Invercargill Rowing Club:
1984 I think from my rusty memory, give or take a year. Mr Harry Mahon visited
our club. A crew of 8 good keen blokes took to the water down at Bluff on a
weekend morning. We all understood the expected protocol of the coaching
session i.e. Mr Mahon would offer his advice to our coach who in turn would
tell us what to do. We were all so nervous that Mr Harry Mahon was actually
going to offer his coaching expertise to our coach from observing us that we
certainly couldn't row with correct technique because we were probably just
about tearing our wrists off the oar handle from sheer nervousness! Well what
actually happened was so much like Harry Mahon it makes me chuckle now days.
Instead of the normal coaching protocol that we all expected, Harry
individually offered his time to all 8 of us in the boat that day. It was a day
I have never ever forgotten. I couldn't believe his generosity to the club.
This was the Harry Mahon our club will always remember and the Harry Mahon who
our club and myself will continue to be greatly inspired by always.
Megs Mackintosh, London, Wednesday June 13th, 09:04
Harry we are all better having known you.
Thanks for your wisdom and your belief in what is possible.
You were an inspiration to us and we will not forget you.
Megs and Alastair Mackintosh.
Richard Newey, Wednesday June 13th, 08:11
Spending time in sarnen I saw harry leave at 5 in the morning to coach
clubs , arrive home at 10 , spend time with e-mails and then be up at 6.30 and
off to the lake the entire day, rubbing his eyes with ehaustion and yet always
patient , and still throwing the odd friendly curved ball at you to see if you
were thinking and always with a friendly chuckle,that sort of passion and
dedication still amazes me, in waikato he would be out in the cold rain for
hours at a time , and if you asked he would always go out of his way to make
time to help you with coaching.
as I have read the tributes I see so many people that harry has helped to
achieve their goals, even now Harry still makes us think!thanks for helping me
in so many ways
may you rest in peace and still watch over us all , we will still here your
words of wisdom as we forget to keep the hands moving or feel it on our feet
Nicky S, New Zealand, Sunday June 10th, 10:07
5 Min of Coaching from Harry made such an impression on a 16yr old
schoolgirl. He will be missed...
UBC, Wanganui New Zealand, Sunday June 10th, 08:02
o no no no no no no no no no no yes no no no no no no no no no no no no
no no no no...........
David and Dianne Rodger, Tuesday June 5th, 04:06
In 1977 a young Harry Mahon set out with a bunch of cavaliers from New Zealand. The sole purpose was to take on the world and win. This entebbe raid while his first for New Zealand was not to be his last and while the result was a silver the influence and achievemenbt was to put New Zealand rowing on a long time high. The athletes involved during that period no doubt estatic that after trying for so long Harry achieved the result of an olympic gold a life long ambition. For some we would have liked that result in 1984 but the time spent with Harry enabled many of us to grow not only in rowing terms but in life terms. Together we suffered defeat as well as victory, strategy as well social. Harry helped some to remain totally absorbed in the sport of rowing and to this end his legacy will remain. It was this single minded focus that enabled Harry to get to and stay on the leading edge. As we progressed through time occasionally the ledge was not big enough for all. Some of us left the ledge to persue other things. Some with smooth feathers some ruffled. Regardless of how we left this ledge the power and inner strength of harry will never be forgotten and for those with anguish may it turn to respect.
For Harry his name will be written in the book of coaching legends so may he rest in peace.
Alan Roaf, Victoria, B.C., Monday June 4th, 18:33
Goethe said: "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being."
The number of ways of describing Harry's 'positives' are legion, and the testimonials to date speak eloquently of his contribution to our sport and the people within it. Harry helped others become what they were capable of being. I cannot imagine any finer tribute to this outstanding coach.
I consider myself honoured to have known him, to have observed his coaching mastery in action and to have shared some personal time with him lately.
The world is a better place because of his influence. Harry made a difference, not only in the techniques of rowing but also in the civility amongst people.
Thomas Studhalter, Sunday June 3rd, 18:15
you were great and what is best, we will still remember what you have learned us. Not only on the water but also in "real-life". Thank you very much.
Rob Waddell, New Zealand
Thanks for the big influence you had on us. Your unique and un-complicated way of thinking removed many of the barriers in our mind's, not just for rowing but also for life. We have been through much together from 1994, through to 1996, and since then you have become a close friend to us, and our families. There so much to write about knowing you Harry, and we will keep it all as fond memories. The first time I won the single at national championships, one of my proudest moments was seeing the look on your face. Thanks for encouraging that dream and many others.
We will all miss your friendship
Rob and Sonia Waddell
Donald Leggett, Saturday June 2nd, 00:31
5 Golds and 1 Silver made us quite certain you were watching Radley at Nottingham at National Schools.
You coached all these boys and they will not forget you in a hurry !!
Dianne Countryman (Prescott),, New York, Friday June 1st, 19:37
Your inspirations and encouragement through my rowing career can never be matched by another. I hope that you are able to find peace.
Walter M. Zücher, Vice-President Swiss Rowing Federation, Friday June 1st, 08:44
Zum Hinschied von Harry Mahon
Auch in unserem Land, insbesondere beim Schweizerischen Ruderverband, hat uns der Hinschied von Harry Mahon sehr betroffen gemacht. Wir haben nicht nur einen wahren Freund unseres Verbandes verloren, viele Athletinnen und Athleten, trauern um einen einmaligen Ruderlehrmeister. Ebenso ist auch bei vielen Trainerinnen und Trainer seine hochstehende Rudertechnik nach wie vor in bester Erinnerung und wird nach wie vor zur Anwendung gebracht.
Harry Mahon hat in seiner Trainertätigkeit in unserem Land seine Spuren hinterlassen. Seine feinfühlige, auch zuweilen sensible Art, hat uns all die Jahre sehr beeindruckt. Selbst als er seinem Wunsch entsprechend, nach England zurückkehrte, war er mehr als nur ein willkommener Gast in unserem Land. Viele Ruderinnen und Ruderer, Clubverantwortliche und vor allem Verbandsfunktionäre freuten sich stets auf ein Wiedersehen mit Harry und waren glücklich und stolz, wenn er uns mit seinen unverkennbaren Hinweisen wertvolle Tipps in Sachen Ruderlehre gab.
Harry war ein aussergewöhnlicher Mensch, ein Nationaltrainer zum Anfassen, ein Lehrmeister der höchsten Ruderschule und eine Person, dessen Anweisungen jederzeit ernst genommen wurden. Oft brauchte er ein Unglaubliches an Geduld seine Ideen an die Leute zu bringen, weil diese oft seine hohe Schule kaum verstehen konnten oder wollten. Gerade in diesen Fällen bewies er seine Grösse, seine Einmaligkeit. Nicht umsonst, und dies kommt in unserem Verband sehr selten zur Anwendung, wurde er 1993 mit einer langanhaltenden „Standing ovation“ von den Delegierten verabschiedet und mit dem Ehrenruder des Schweizerischen Ruderverbandes ausgezeichnet.
Mit Harry Mahon verlieren auch wir einen grossen Freund unseres Verbandes, aber auch unseres Landes. Seine Liebe zur Schweiz hat er sehr oft zum Ausdruck gebracht und wann immer möglich kehrte er auch zu uns zurück. Die Beziehungen wurden indes auch nie abgebrochen, sondern unsere und seine Freundschaft blieben stets erhalten.
Wir werden ihn für immer in bester Erinnerung behalten und danken ihm für die grossen Verdienste, welche er bei uns erworben hat. Ihnen, liebe Trauernde wünschen wir Kraft und Zuversicht beim Verlust dieses grossartigen Menschen, Freundes und Lehrmeisters.
Walter M. Zürcher
Walter M. Zücher, Vice-President Swiss Rowing Federation, Friday June 1st, 08:44
In Memory of Harry. . .
Here in our country and especially within the Swiss Rowing Federation we have been affected deeply by the passing of Harry Mahon. We have not only lost a true friend of our Federation but many athletes mourn for a unique master of rowing. His superb rowing technique is well remembered by coaches and athletes alike and will continue to be put into effect.
In his time as coach in our country Harry left many traces. His gentle and occasionally sensitive nature made a great impression over the years and even after he moved to England he was a more than welcome guest here. Many rowers, coaches and officials of the clubs and Federation looked forward to seeing him again and were happy and proud to receive his unmistakable and valuable rowing advice and tips.
Harry was an extraordinary man: a popular national coach; a master of the highest levels of rowing coaching and a person whose guidance would always be taken seriously. He often worked with amazing patience in passing on his ideas to people, some of whom struggled to grasp the essence of his style. And in doing so Harry revealed his greatness and his uniqueness. It was not for nothing, and this seldom happens in our Federation, that at his farewell in 1993 he was honoured with a long and deserved standing ovation and a place amongst the heroes of Swiss rowing.
Harry was also a friend of our country; his love of Switzerland meant that he often returned to us here. We had a relationship that can never be broken, instead our friendship will live on.
We will always hold him amongst our dearest memories and thank him for the great service he rendered us. We wish you, his bereaved, strength and courage in the loss of this great man, friend and coach.
SWISS ROWING FEDERATION
Walter M. Zürcher
Ken Wakulich, St. Catharines, Canada, Friday June 1st, 08:05
When Harry was coaching and teaching back in the '70's in St.Catharines, I had the pleasure of being coached and influenced by this "quiet and small giant of a man"...when he spoke, the words were gentle yet firm; when he wanted to get a point across, it was often prefaced by a calm silence that meant a simple explanation was forthcoming amidst the chaos that had proceeded it...we shared many good times over and over again when he visited Nick Holmes in St. Catharines, whether he was here for the Canadian Henley or just to kick back after another stint with various National teams around the world...I'll never forget our short and sweet talk prior to the Canadian Trials in Burnaby in 1974 as well as one subsequent "bridge hoists" in Lucerne in 1974...a man for all seasons and a rowing man for all the right reasons...
we will miss you terribly Harry...Godspeed to you and may you make the angels faster rowers, which I know you will...
God Bless You!!!
Ronan, Thursday May 31st, 22:00
your strength made us stronger,
Robin Williams, Cambridge, Thursday May 31st, 10:54
Harry, you were an amazing man and it was a privilege to have known and worked with you. Every time you visited us at Cambridge it was an inspiration to the squad of rowers and the coaches alike. You had the ability to refresh, simplify, and clarify rowing. You had a special insight which allowed you to unlock the potential of so many 'ordinary' people who then became extraordinary. You had an ability to communicate and connect with people and an unbelievable capacity for work which involved travelling the World, juggling requests for coaching from many different groups.
You are sorely missed but I am so pleased that the last years of your life were filled with so much happiness - in particular with Sarah, Charlie and Rosie, with us here at Cambridge, with Martin and the boys in Sydney. May you live long in all our hearts and minds.
Chris Chavannes, Thursday May 31st, 09:25
Simply the BEST !
Fidèle à ta technique, à ta philosophie oui mais ouvert et admiratif à autre chose, pourvu que se soit fait avec passion et précision.
En stage avec le CA Vésenaz à Aiguebelette, tu m'as fait remarquer des équipages français à l'entraînement. Pas exactement ce que tu préconisait, mais admiratif et impressionné par l'uniformité et la rigueur, tu les as observé de longues minutes.
A + Harry
Willie Castle, Wednesday May 30th, 18:43
In Greek mythology, it is Charon who rows us across the river Styx and into the afterlife. Not only will he have enjoyed Harry's company on the crossing, but I'll bet his split times are down considerably and his stroke quite a bit cleaner.
Amici Harry, it was a joy and a privilege. Thank you, you are missed.
Josef Grossert, Ruder-Trainer, Wednesday May 30th, 10:57
Harry habe ich das erste mal bewundert, als er es verstand den "RUDER-BEWEGUNGSABLAUF" auf einem A4 Blatt zu dokumentieren. Er war der Begründer der heute vielerorts praktizierten Ruder-Technik. Leider haben es viele Trainer noch nicht begriffen. Ich hatte die enorm grosse Möglichkeit von Harry sehr viel zu lernen. Ich werde viel an diese Begegnung und an Harry zurück denken. Danke Harry.
Ross Gully & Lambert Marine Architects, Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday May 30th, 00:30
Your tribute into making the boat faster and your unlimited vision of improving that 'perfect' technique to its full exent will soon be achieved, After months working with you and research technicians. We have almost finished the new rowing skiff, totally faster than the present day fastest skiff. Every nook and cranny is insprired from your ideas and we honnor the project after you as, 'Defiant Mahon'
We hope you can see all the achievement we have done with you being raced in in every corner of the world. Once again, Harry thank you for helping us getting started in the right direction, your kindness, your wisdom unlimited knowleadge in rowing techniques. Many thanks
Ross and the team
TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More
Christian, Tuesday May 29th, 23:45
It`s 035 in the morning/at night in Hamburg, germany and i just start
thinking about you.
I never talked to you, but it doesn`t matter.
You did it here, on this side, and you`ll go your way over there.
It seem`s like you were not just a coach for rowing - more for our lives.
see you Chris
Bruce, Cambridge, Tuesday May 29th, 18:03
I'll never forget your kindness. Thankyou.
Matt McQuillan, Tuesday May 29th, 10:45
How lucky we are that you chose to get involved in rowing. You'll be sorely missed.
Robert Waser, Tuesday May 29th, 08:15
We will always remember your time in Switzerland. You gave us a lot, not only
as coach but especially also as human being and good friend.
Harry, we miss you.
Marr Family, Auckland, New Zealand, Monday May 28th, 09:45
Many thanks for your encouragement for our son, fraser to take up the
sport, we will miss the exciting chats at various regattas at Karaprio.
We all hope to see you one day.
Philippa Baker-Hogan, Wanganui, New Zealand, Monday May 28th, 03:49
"Extraordinary People are simply ordinary people who do extraordinary
things". I had many coaches with many talents, but none quite the "gift" you
had Harry. You lived your life to the fullest and touched many people. Thanks
Harry for everything and sorry about losing your air-points tickets back in
Anonymous, Monday May 28th, 02:53
Whenever I'm finding the going a little tough, or I'm getting grief over
being a lightweight and or a short a*se. I look back and remember the time that
Harry looked at me and saw the bigger person inside the rower. For giving me
that self belief and faith in my ability he lit a big flame. I thank Harry for
Alexander Peyer, Sunday May 27th, 15:08
Teamwork is working together even when apart. Quiet waters run deep,
that's what you were all abou, Harry. Thank you for all you did for the sport
of rowing. Alex Peyer RC Reuss Luzern.
Chris Perry, Sunday May 27th, 13:37
I sit and write this in Japan where crews from the Hong Kong Team are
racing at the East Asian Games. Many of our athletes here were fortunate, over
the last few years, to join the GB Team at training camps around the World
where Harry was coaching. Always he was ready to offer a kind word of
encouragement, a few well-chosen tips and precious moments to explain how great
rowing should "feel".
Harry never made a distinction between the care and guidance which he offered to
the world's greatest athletes or to those, like ours, from a developing nation.
He always gave his undivided attention.
We will remember your spirit Harry and thank you!
Barrie Mabbott, Auckland, Sunday May 27th, 09:54
I suffered your porridge in the morning Harry; I hope you enjoyed my
puddings at night. Thanks for the great rowing years 1979-1983.
Marie-France et Yves Dijamatovic, Club du Lausanne-Sports, Saturday May 26th, 19:02
Tu es celui qui a mis d'accord tous les entraîneurs de Suisse pour une
technique du coup d'aviron optimale. Ce ne fut pas chose facile, car chacun
d'entre nous s'était convaincu d'avoir trouvé les meilleurs gestes.
Tes apparitions en Suisse romande nous ont laissé de bons souvenirs et cela
nous semblait réciproque.
Encore merci à toi.
Charlie Wood, Saturday May 26th, 17:54
Harry really has changed my life he helped me through some tough stuff at
school. I really miss him and so does my sister rosie and my mum sarah. he was
also a really good friend and easy to talk to.
Rosie Wood, Saturday May 26th, 17:49
He was a great man!!! (not just a rowing coach!)
My mum (sarah) says that he has changed her life!
- Rosie Wood 13
Anonymous, Saturday May 26th, 13:48
"A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
P to M.
Michelle Darvill, Friday May 25th, 17:05
An amazing person who lived life to the fullest by example. Throughout his
illness he managed to keep up a schedule and enjoy a life that mere mortals
could only dream of. Harry's spirit will live on in thousands of friends, rowers
and coaches throughout the world. carpe diem
Michelle & Bernd
Anonymous, Friday May 25th, 15:00
Since Harry coached me there has not been a session that his words didn't
echo through me ... finding expression in every stroke.
I would have given anything for just one more session with Harry, but I suppose
after that "one more" there would always have been this insane hunger for
Now, that I am left with Harry's words, may his stroke and vision never leave me.
This is the highest compliment I can give anyone, and by no means an adequate
return to the one he paid me.
Reto Fierz, Friday May 25th, 13:58
When you came to Switzerland I was a Junior, who didnt realy know what he was
doing in a rowing boat, when you left I won a medal on the 1993 world
championships. When you came to Switzerland, I got to know you as "iron Harry",
when you left, you have become "magic Harry". And today I'm coaching myself,
trying to teach what you taught me over years. But I still wonder how you could
see, whether I had the pressure on the feet or not, when I was rowing with
almost 40 strokes a minute...
Not only in rowing technique but also in many personal skills you were an
outstanding coach and mentor.
Thank's very much for all you did for me; you will always be in my best memory.
Alexander Koch, Friday May 25th, 13:56
The way you taught me to row did influence not only my sports career but my
entire life. You were not just a teacher of a specific technic, but you were
teaching an entire life philosophy.
Rowing for you was simple, easy going, no unnecessary movements, always in
perfect harmony with the boat and the elements around, action and reaction at
the same time, it was focused and successful and so was your life.
I have learned much more from you than just rowing faster. I will do my best
to continue teaching and living your "life and rowing style". As somebody else
wrote before, "you are only dead when you are forgotten", I think that this
will never happen. I will never forget that you, recovering from 6 chimotherapy
treatments, went for a 90 minutes run at 40 degrees Celsius in Sevilla in 1999
in order to get fit for the London Marathon to raise money for a cancer
I will miss you as trainer, a coach and a friend.
Société d'Aviron de Fribourg
Marc Nater, Friday May 25th, 12:09
thank you for everything you did for my frieds and me. we will never forget you.
AC (Sharkie) Davies, Friday May 25th, 11:42
February 1960. Many met Harry for the first time at Victoria University of
Wellingtion. A fellow first-time student, geographer, rower (not I), rugby
player, potential troubabour, laconic story-teller and, most of all, a
life-long friend in the making.
Thank you all for your tributes to Harry.
You have captured his essence: his ability to give, his inability to think
ill of mankind; his ability to see the potential in others; his denial of the
impact of his own efforts to unleash that ability in others; his quiet humility
and his humanity; but above all his abiding recognition of the worth of true
We have given many great people to the World - not many better than Harry.
Together,let's rejoice in the knowledge that we have been honoured to call him: "My friend".
Colleen & Helen, South Africa, Friday May 25th, 11:24
If ever money was well spent, it was that spent by the South African
Rowing Union in getting Harry out to South Africa a number of times to coach
our rowers and coaches. Even though he was never able to spend more than a few
days with us, he did more in those sessions than any other coach we have worked
with. Apart from his ability to capture the essence of rowing in a few simple
words, his matter-of-fact belief in us and our potential pulled us out of many
a downward-spiral. We believe that the turning point in our performance
happened last July when Harry came over to Belfast, Mpumalanga,for a weekend to
coach the SA Olympic crews. A couple of months later in Sydney, when we
surprised everyone (including ourselves!) by winning our heat to go straight to
the A final, Harry came looking for us afterwards. His pleasure in our win was
almost as gratifying as the race itself! Harry, thank you for all you did for
us - that final wouldn't have happened without you.
Colleen & Helen RSA W2- 2000.
Ross Hawkins, Friday May 25th, 08:59
Thankyou Harry for everything that you taught me, it will not be forgotten.
Marco, Thursday May 24th, 22:58
The blue sky is your lake now.
Forever grateful Harry.
Anonymous, Thursday May 24th, 21:53
Harry, I am just starting out in my professional rowing career. I have
been watching a video of the olympic GB 8+ with you coaching and it truly is
inspirational. If I am able to coach half as well as you (which is doubtful as
you are possibly the best ever) i'm sure to succeed
The angels in heaven will be moving through the clouds with effortless finesse
if you have anything to do with their technique.
You really are a great man and an amazing coach. British rowing will probably
take a while to realise just how much of a difference you have really made.
May you rest in peace.
Dai Ellis, Thursday May 24th, 21:04
Callous is the tide of spring that tears us from our mooring
None held so fast so long before and yet we now are loosed
Riding on the lip of flood, and menaced by the gyre
But mooring lost is guidance gained, cast off but unabandoned
A new body in our firmament fixed for those who care to see
So brothers in a shared pursuit our ways shall not diverge
Observing this Polaris
Across an endlessly intimate distance drawn
Thus he would make us all so like
By gentle exhortation
He set the mark
Unknowing, not for rowing,
But for our course
To ask with each spring tide returning
Can I be so
Christian Heierli, Thursday May 24th, 20:23
I will never forget the training in april 1990, when you were coaching my
twin brother and me in the coxless pair on the Wohlensee. I never did so few
kilometers in one training.. you let us row almost the whole time in a circle,
always just rowing one of us at the same time.. With my "sweet" sixteeen years,
I wasn't able to understand you. Today I teach YOUR technique to our "sweet"
sixteens.. thank you
Christian Heierli, Rowing-Club Bern
David Parnwell, Thursday May 24th, 19:34
I shall never forget sitting in the stands at Penrith in total silence to hear the announcer say that GB were leading the field. And that's how it was. After the race the eight paddled over to us, got out of the boat and standing in the water quietly sipped a can. I stupidly asked Rowley what rating they went off at. Smiling he replied; "Flat out!"
What a tribute to Harry. Well done men!
Melissa Bray, Austin, Texas, Thursday May 24th, 15:51
To transcend all expectations
To stand tall until the end
To be supple enough to bend, but not break
To choose the path absolutely
and follow it unassumably.
I salute your talent, your spirit and in my rowing you are one of my guides.
Anonymous, Thursday May 24th, 13:29
'The dead are not dead until they are forgotten'. Harry, we will never
forget you, you will live on in all of us who had the privilege to know you and
be coached by you. A truly great man, in every sense. Thank you, Harry.
Toni Dunlop, Thursday May 24th, 08:46
Very few people have been involved with so many athletes the world over, I
believe you have helped us all and we all owe something of our successes to
Ruedi Ulli, Thursday May 24th, 08:08
I wish you all the best for your last travel. i thank you for lerning me, what
rowing-technique really is. it was always a great experience to train with you.
Thank you and good bye.
Stacey Hogan, WERC lightweight 8 Thursday May 24th, 01:36
your impact on NZ rowing will have the same lasting effect as
Rusty's has had - without taking away from your huge success.
Noel Donaldson, Australia Wednesday May 23rd, 13:50
I will always remember the quiet nights at regattas where many of us would
share in rowing thoughts and you would be the leader; not in any verbal way but
more by way of quiet and accurate advice that we would all listen to. I, like
so many others, have benefitted from the great man Harry Mahon. RIP.
Chris and Marki Nilsson, Wednesday May 23rd, 13:50
Harry - if there was ever a man who changed another man's pathway in
life, it was Harry who so dramatically changed mine. I will be forever grateful
for the inspiration and the will he gave me to walk away from a lifelong
commitment to sheep farming in New Zealand to pursue a love of rowing. My
regret is that more New Zealander's in recent times were not able to have the
same privilage of the expertise, the personal touch and the strength of mind
that British Rowing, Cambridge University and Radley College have had over the
past number of years. New Zealand's loss has been the rest of the rowing
world's gain - what an outstanding legacy to leave behind.
We will forever miss his friendship, his fleeting visits to the farm, the odd
game of golf and most of all, 'his vision of the perfect stroke' - I am still
searching for it Harry!
Our heartfelt thoughts go out to Sarah and to the family in New Zealand.
Forever grateful Harry, Chris.
Miklós Irmay, Wednesday May 23rd, 10:28
If somebody on this world could make one feel what rowing really is, it was you!
I always think at you, when I'm out on one of these beautiful Swiss lakes,
where we spent so many time together following junior crews.
After 9 years, since you left Switzerland, I still can feel your enthusiasm to
help rowers to improve their technique and to push them to reach their limits.
Your goal was always a bit higher then the one of the rowers you were
"guiding". Harry always meant, NO LIMITS!
You are no more among us, but your spirit will go on to guide our rowing.
Thanks for everything you were teaching me.
Holm Miehlbradt, Wednesday May 23rd, 09:56
I will always remember the too few opportunities to see coaching through your eyes.
See you sometimes wherever you are now.
Mike and Annie Spracklen, Wednesday May 23rd, 06:21
Harry's life was rowing. His greatest pleasure was helping athletes to succeed,
a skill at which he excelled with quiet confidence. Never promoting himself by
criticizing others was a quality which lifted him above the rest.
Harry was a fine person and a superb coach. He will be missed by many people.
Brett Smith, University of Waikato, New Zealand, Wednesday May 23rd, 01:09
Harry not only coached me but provided me with a unique opportunity to
develop myself personally and professionally for which I will be eternally
grateful. Many years ago I moved to work at the Waikato Polytech and while the
job was a disaster the time spent with Harry and the NZ rowing team sustained
and motivated me. I have so much to thank you for it would it is difficult to
write it all.
Naku Noa e Hoa - Tohunga o nga Waka Tere.
Brett Smith (sport science and medicine coordinator - NZRA, Lecturer - University of Waikato)
Linda de Jong, Tuesday May 22nd, 22:22
Always in my thoughts as the coach who could relate the stroke in a way I
could feel and touch. I will remember Harry as a friend, coach and mentor who
always had time to help anyone at any level understand the joy of feeling the
boat. Harry was a true champion and inspiration in all senses of the word to
the very end. Thank you for being who you were.
Hilary Vella, Oamaru Rowing Club Tuesday May 22nd, 21:51
Oamaru Rowing Club, New Zealand.
Paul Daetwyler, Tuesday May 22nd, 20:08
Thank you for all you brought to our rowing-family.
Martin McElroy, Tuesday May 22nd, 19:32
Just 11 days ago Harry came out with us. He struggled to get in the launch
and I held the megaphone as he coached. It was as always - simple and
effective. The crew paddled from Hammersmith to Chelsea bridge and back. Harry
didn't miss a beat. Each time he spoke the boat moved on "yeah, that's it. Look,
you just made the boat go faster."
At the end we all knew that it might be the last time, but Harry was happy.
A week later we trained at the docks and many times I thought to myself what
would harry say? I didn't know the news then but I was thinking a lot about him
and when I was told later that day all I could think of was the glisten in his
eye a week earlier. Even then Harry could see all the possibilities of the crew.
Thank you Harry. You made our dreams come true.
Carl Douglas, Tuesday May 22nd, 19:04
A man of great courage and tenacity, he fought and never quit.
An outstanding coach, motivator and exemplar.
An irreplaceable loss to rowing.
His memory should be honoured in a very practical way.
Marko Banovic, Cambridge '95 & Croatia Tuesday May 22nd, 16:35
When I was privileged to be 'Harried' for the first time on a windy afternoon
on the Ouse, I thought of myself as a man who had just discovered that the
Earth was not flat and was not carried on the backs of giant elephants. All of
my defenses collapsed, and you started to open for me new horizons in rowing.
Shakespeare said, 'Some man are born great, some achieve greatness and some
have greatness thrust upon them.'
Harry you were a great man in every sense.
Becky Caroe, Tuesday May 22nd, 16:06
I would like to suggest a public tribute from rowers to Harry - would
Henley Womens Regatta or Henley Royal Regatta consider a mass row-past in one
of the lunch breaks?
Henry Morris, Captain RCBC Tuesday May 22nd, 13:40
I am very sad to hear about Harry. He inspired us all here at Radley with
his modesty and bravery. I have been fortunate enough to have been coached by
Harry for two years, and all I can say was that he was a legend. He saw the
potential in everyone and enabled us to fulfill it. Last year he managed to
mould our motley crew into a very fast eight, and whenever he came down to
Radley we seemed to go lengths faster in just one outing. He had a genius of
being able to make people row well. We were so lucky to have him, and will
deeply miss him. He can be damn sure that we will do everything we can to make
him proud of us this season. Harry, whatever we make of this year and years to
come, is dedicated to you.
Jan-Willem van der Wal, Tuesday May 22nd, 13:21
It was February 1998 when I met Harry in South Africa. As a young coach I
had the strange idea of building a South African junior eight.
The inspiration and great believe of Harry made it possible to start of this
project and make it to the success it was.
While walking over African markets, enjoying the gardens and everything there
we had lots of talks that has changed my life and coaching.
Harry was the inspiration to learn to believe in what you can achieve by just
doing it and go for it.
Harry, thank you for everything, you will live through in the coaching and
rowing of many of us.
Rest in peace.
Paul Persad, Tuesday May 22nd, 13:19
Harry..I never had the opportunity of being coached by you, but your
philosophy on Rowing/Sculling has reached many athletes at all levels. I have
never experienced such exquisite & relaxed technique as has been defined by the
crews & scullers you have helped to influence. May this continue for many years
to come. Thank you and may God Bless your soul.
Anonymous, Tuesday May 22nd, 12:30
Xavi Boix, Tuesday May 22nd, 11:42
Thank you for your contribution to make rowing a better sport and rowers
Peter Haining, Tuesday May 22nd, 11:00
When I met Harry in 1987 in Switzerland he had a clear picture
of what rowing and friendship should be and he stayed the master
of both disciplines until the end. I think the rowing fraternity
has lost a great coach and obviously my thoughts are with the people
he has left behind.
Stuart Thomson, South Africa, Tuesday May 22nd, 10:57
He didn't invent rowing, but he strove to perfect it in the athletes he
touched. I was fortunate enough to be coached by Harry, and I have never had a
greater inspiration for attaining perfection. What a great asset the rowing
community has lost, what a great man the world has lost. My sincerest
condolences to his family and friends.
Anonymous, Tuesday May 22nd, 09:50
I will always feel lucky that I had met Harry. My deepest sympathy is with
those who were closest to him.
John Wilson, Nottingham, Tuesday May 22nd, 09:29
I, like so many others, owe so much to Harry. When we were coaching
together at Cambridge he showed me how to make rowing simple and beautiful.
Ever since, I have viewed the sport completely differently - (pardon the
cliche) 'my eyes were opened when before they were closed'. Harry was a great
friend and I will miss him dearly. The biggest tribute I can pay to Harry
though is to repeat the words of Sarah, his partner "Even when Harry dies a
part of him will always be with us".
Andrew MacFarlane, London UK, Tuesday May 22nd, 09:06
I have had many rowing coaches in my rowing career thus far and none have
touched me or inspired me more on and off the water than Harry Mahon. His frank
and at times demoralising coaching style usually inspired me further in pursuit
of attaining Harry's rowing technique, the perfect rowing stroke. He will be
sorely missed all over the world and may his legacy live with us all forever.