Aquil H. Abdullah won four letters in men’s rowing at GW from 1992-96. Aquil narrowly missed qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney by .33 of a second. After losing in the 2000 Olympic Trials, Abdullah considered retiring from the sport. Instead, he resumed training, competed again and won the elite Diamond Sculls race at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta at Henley-on-the Thames in London in 2000. He continued to train in the lead up to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece and would compete in the Men's Double Scull event with Henry Nuzum. so.and in 2004 became the first African American man on the United States Olympic rowing team.
Abdullah, the second men’s rower elected to the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, came to GW from nearby Wilson High School in Northwest Washington after starring as a 6-foot-1, 185-pound wide receiver on the Wilson football team. But he had started rowing as a high school senior and in 1992 accepted a rowing scholarship at George Washington where he majored in physics.