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Lyon wins silver, yearns for greasy cheeseburger

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Fresh off winning silver at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, Winnipeg archer Jay Lyon had blockbuster movies on the brain.

Figures. Lyon spent most of the competition cooped up in the athlete's village -- the Canadian team was urged to keep close to the Games facilities due to a threat of terrorist outbreaks -- watching flicks on his computer.

So after the 24-year-old narrowly lost the gold medal final to India's Rahul Banerjee in a shootout, Lyon's thoughts were already drifting towards home. And ground beef.

"I'm pretty pumped I went," Lyon told the Free Press on Sunday, from New Delhi. "I'm glad I'm going home, though. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie Iron Man when Tony Stark gets home (from the middle east) after being kidnapped. The No. 1 thing he wants to do when he gets back home is eat a good old American cheeseburger. That's my plan, to hit the Burger King when I get home. Get some greasy, delicious food in me. I want to eat like a slob for a bit and put back on some weight that I lost over here."

The veteran of the 2008 Beijing Olympics had been a reluctant participant in the New Delhi games due to health concerns that scared away several international competitors and a few Canadian athletes, too. Lyon had subsisted this past week mostly on granola bars, energy drinks and protein powders.

Maybe Lyon should think about changing his diet as he narrowly lost to India's Rahul Banerjee in the gold-medal final. After the pair finished their sets tied 5-5, the match was decided by a shootout that lasted six ends. On the deciding shot, both Lyon and Banerjee hit the 8 mark (out of 10), but the Indian's arrow was "a centimetre, maybe" closer to the bulls eye.

"It was pretty intense," Lyon said from New Delhi. "I'm a little disappointed. My goal here was to go all the way and bring a medal home for my country, which is pretty awesome."

Lyon had advanced to the final by defeating England's Larry Godfrey in the quarter-final (6-3), before blanking India's Jayanta Talukdar 6-0 in the semifinal.

Manitobans have now won a total of five medals to date at the games, including two silvers from Selkirk archer Doris Jones in the compound bow category (team and individual) and two bronze from gymnast Gabby May (team and vault), of Winnipeg.

Lyon's gold medal final was not without a little controversy when a few overzealous host fans at the competition continued to heckle India's opponents as they took aim.

"Apparently some of the ushers in the crowd were hearing some people yelling, "Miss! Miss!," Lyon noted. "They started throwing people out if they made too much noise. One was thrown out during my match, apparently. But I never heard anything."

Meanwhile, Lyon continued to enforce his reputation as a money shooter, turning around an uneventful season to capture silver in New Delhi. At the 2010 Beijing Olympics, Lyon entered the Games ranked in the mid-60s in the world but finished 10th overall. Lyon had previously won team silver for Canada at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio De Janeiro.

"It's a good confidence booster," he said. "It's nice to know I can turn a bad season into a good season. The big shows keep me more focused, I guess."

However, Lyon did have time to kill after qualifying for the final eight on Thursday, with athletes confined to their quarters or the archery venue. "I was getting bored," he said.

Hence the movies. Apparently, Rocky must have been on the play bill, too, for a guy who left for New Delhi wanting to prove he "wasn't a bum."

It was a message for his girlfriend, Jenelle.

"Can I get one more quote from Rocky Balboa?" the archer asked, politely.

Sure, a scribbler replied.

Said Lyon, riding on a bus through the bustling streets of New Dehli: "Yo, Jenelle. I did it!"

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 12, 2010 C7

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