George Lyon didn’t take up the game of golf until he was 38 years old, but a late start in the game didn’t stop him from becoming one of Canada’s greatest champions. Lyon, 46, shocked the sports world by defeating heavily favoured American Chandler Egan to win the gold medal. The tournament format was such that to earn his medal Lyon had to play twelve grueling rounds of golf in six days. Lyon’s colourful personality and “coal heaver’s swing” captivated golf fans and media alike, making him one of the most celebrated spectacles of the 1904 Olympics.
“I came to St. Louis little expecting that I would gain the title of Olympic golf champion. However, I was successful, and I will say that I was compelled to play my hardest to win. I attribute my success principally to my long drives. I outdrove Egan, and it was mainly through this that I won. This is the first time that I competed in a golf tournament in America and I feel highly honored to think that I captured the much-coveted title.” Mr. Lyon, September 25, 1904
Lyon received a gold medal, as all Olympic champions do, but that medal has since been lost. The only evidence that still exists of his win is this Olympic Trophy at the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. After 112 year hiatus, golf was re-introduced to the Olympic Games in 2016 with Team Canada members Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp.