Lynda Kiejko: Olympic pistol shooter and engineer

Lynda Kiejko (née Hare) of Canada lines up her shot in the 10m Air Pistol Womens Pairs event at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range during the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.  (Photo by Graham Crouch/Getty Images)
Lynda Kiejko (née Hare) of Canada lines up her shot in the 10m Air Pistol Womens Pairs event at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range during the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Graham Crouch/Getty Images)

Away from the glitz and glamour of the Olympic Games, dozens of athletes subsidise their sports career by having other jobs. From farming to banking, Tokyo 2020 looks at several hopefuls aiming to make an impact next summer and what roles they have outside of competition. This week, we feature Lynda Kiejko from Canada.

The deets

  • Name: Lydia Kiejko
  • Age: 40
  • Country: Canada
  • Sport: Pistol shooter

Her athlete life

Lynda Kiejko hails from a family of Olympic shooters. Her father - the late Bill Hare - was a three-time Olympian who competed in Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972 whilst her sister Dorothy Ludwig qualified for London 2012.

Kiejko took up shooting at a young age when her father built an air pistol range in their basement to encourage his daughters to take up the sport.

From that point on, Kiejko and her sister built a career as pistol shooters. Together they became a sister act and even won bronze in the air pistol pair event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

By 2015, Kiejko was ready to go it alone after finishing in sixth place at the World Cup in Republic of Korea. That year Kiejko also reached her peak when she won double gold in the 10m and 25m on home soil at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.

Her dream of following in her father's footsteps became a reality when she secured a spot at the Rio 2016 Games - her first Olympic Games.

Bronze medalists Lynda Kiejko (née) Hare and Dorothy Ludwig (R) of Canada pose after in the 10m Air Pistol Womens Pairs event at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range during the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.  (Photo by Graham Crouch/Getty Images)
Bronze medalists Lynda Kiejko (née) Hare and Dorothy Ludwig (R) of Canada pose after in the 10m Air Pistol Womens Pairs event at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range during the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Graham Crouch/Getty Images)
2010 Getty Images

Kiejko reminisces about her experience at the Rio 2016 Games.

"The energy, the electricity and the people who are cheering for you having that moment was awesome and I really thoroughly enjoyed it, but getting back to sleep, to rest, to know that I was there to compete and the competition really was priority " she told the Olympic Channel.

While she only placed 38th in Rio, Kiejko said she was not as prepared for the competition as she wanted to be.

"I think at the Olympic Games, I had vision issues which weren't quite sorted out with some of the lighting. I just had not quite practised in that environment enough."

"If you felt that you haven't put your best put forward it’s a tough day no matter where you place," she added

Now, Kiejko may have another shot at fulfilling her Olympic hopes next year at Tokyo 2020.

She won Canada's only shooting Olympic spot in the Games after the Shooting Federation of Canada chose her based on her scores and her potential to win the 10-metre air pistol event.

"Looking ahead to the Olympic Games, it lights a fire to any prospective Olympian. You want to be part of that excitement, that experience, that journey, that stamp in history," she said.

Her professional life

While continuing her training in shooting, Kiejko also works as a senior civil engineer in an electrical company which provides 85 per cent of the electricity in her native hometown in Calgary.

Aside from working in the office, Kiejko also has to visit electric towers and check if they are all working properly.

Kiejko says she went into engineering because of her love for maths, and feels that her day job has something in common with the sport of shooting.

"With engineering, when you are dealing with a problem and you're going through something, you look at the big picture and see how they are pieced together and then you break them down into individual parts so you understand how everything all works."

"In shooting it's very similar, you look at the grand scheme of things and then you break it all down and then ideally parceling out individual pieces and becoming proficient until you have all that end result that all fits together."

But while she is obviously successful in her day job, Kiejko knows it's her responsibility to maintain her father's Olympic legacy. Hearing her father's stories about the Olympic Games made her want to be an Olympian like him and represent Team Canada.

"Competing in the Olympic Games has been more than a childhood dream for me, it's a family affair," Kiejko told Canadian Press in 2016.

With her father's legacy to look up to, Kiejko will honour him once again when she steps onto that Olympic stage at Tokyo 2020.