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Celebrated volunteer, organizer dead at 74

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MANITOBA Sports Hall of Fame member Dave Lyon, a Winnipeg native prominent in track and field nationally and internationally, has died. He was 74.

As a coach, club executive and organizer, Lyon was involved in both Winnipeg versions of the Pan Am Games in 1967 and 1999, as well as with Canada's national team at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles (1984), Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Sydney (2000)

The career high school teacher emphasized the blending of academic and athletics, including helping to organize and manage the provincial high school championships for many years.

Lyon also worked as a volunteer in many capacities with Athletics Manitoba as a board member and director of athletics.

Lyon's own track career included time at Oklahoma Baptist University as a two-mile champion. He placed fourth in the U.S. nationals in 1961 and took up his other interests in the sport after a career-ending injury.

In 1981, Lyon was recognized as the volunteer of the decade and was inducted into the province's Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

A memorial service honouring Lyon will be announced soon.

Ramage, Balcaen honoured

A basketball bench boss from a tiny rural school and a badminton guru from the south end of Winnipeg have been honoured for their efforts.

On Monday, the Manitoba High School Athletics Association unveiled Somerset Collegiate basketball coach Nathan Ramage and Vincent Massey Collegiate badminton coach Marty Balcaen as the Subway Urban and Rural High School Coaches of the Month for April.

Ramage was selected after his Somerset Lions junior varsity boys basketball team became just the second A-level school -- that's a population of only 50 students -- to win the A or AA provincial championship. The Lions did so while running over the top three seeded teams by double-digit margins.

Balcaen, himself a former high school badminton champion, was named after he helped lead the Vincent Massey badminton squad to a second-place finish in the MHSAA team championships May 4. The Collegie Louis Riel grad has been coaching at Vincent Massey since 2005.

McIsaac named to Hall of Fame

ONE of Manitoba's most accomplished Paralympic athletes was given to history over the weekend with an induction into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame.

Swimmer Tim McIsaac, who ruled the Paralympic Games pool in the 1980s despite not being able to see, was added to the Hall in a Toronto ceremony.

McIsaac, who was born without sight, started swimming as part of the physical education program at the Ross MacDonald School for the Blind. In 1976, he made his first Paralympic splash, scooping up a gold, two silvers and two bronzes. Over the next three Paralympic games he dominated, collecting 14 golds, four silvers and five bronzes.

McIsaac also developed and pioneered an innovative approach where he was tapped on the head or arm to tumble-turn, as sighted swimmers do.

He was the first blind swimmer in the world to do that in competition, and the method has since become compulsory in competitive swimming for blind athletes.

The University of Winnipeg alumnus was named the Canadian Athlete of the Year in 1982, and has been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 15, 2013 D4

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