At the age of 46, George Lyon made his Olympic debut at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis. A lot of attention was given to his unorthodox “coal-heaver’s swing” which resembled more a cricket bat swing. He survived all the elimination rounds and in the final match for the Olympic title, Lyon beat American champion Chandler Egan. With his reputation of being a fun loving, cheerful guy, Lyon then accepted his trophy after walking to the ceremony on his hands. Lyon went to London 1908 to defend his Olympic title, but an internal dispute on the competition format, lead to a boycott among British golfers leaving Lyon as the only entrant. Ultimately, he was offered the gold medal, which he refused to accept. Lyon reigned as the golf Olympic champion for 112 years since golf did not return to the Olympic program until Rio 2016.
Lyon started golfing at 37, winning his first Canadian Amateur Championship three years later, capturing a career eight titles between 1898-1914. He was a 10-time Canadian senior champion from 1918-32. Lyon lost the final of the 1906 US Amateur, reached the semi-finals of the 1908 British Amateur and was the 1910 Canadian Open runner-up.
An all-around athlete, Lyon excelled in several sports including baseball, curling, football and tennis. In 1876, he was the Canadian record holder in pole vault and in 1894 he represented Canada eight times in cricket, averaging 14.07 and scoring 238 not out in a club game.
While he continued to golf, Lyon had a professional career in insurance. A member of the Canadian military, he served at the Metis uprising in 1885. Lyon founded the Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association, was elected president of the Royal Canadian Golf Association in 1923 and was captain of the Lambton Golf Club for 23 years.
In 1948, the George S. Lyon Club Team Championship was held for the first time and hosted by Golf Ontario on Toronto area golf courses. Lyon was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1995, and both Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1971.
|1904 St. Louis||Golf||Individual - Men||Gold|