I brought home the bronze medal from the 2003 Pan American Games, and although I missed qualifying for the 2004 Olympics, this was a precious medal, as my father was my coach at the games.
Pistol shooting provided so many benefits throughout my life in many different areas like mental preparation, meeting new people, training and competing next to the best athletes in the world, and traveling to places I only dreamed of going.
Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic games, will always be one of my most treasured trips. Not only for the history, the memories, and the awe of standing on a marble finish line in the original Olympic stadium in Olympia, but it was my last international competition with my father as my coach. To get to share in his passion, to have had the opportunity to travel with and learn from him, will always be a true blessing to me. It also instilled in me the duty to help others learn, to share my passion for the shooting sports and help support my team mates so that we all improve.
Bill Hare (left) with Lynda Kiejko (right) in Olympia, Greece. The birthplace of the Olympics. Lynda and Bill stood on the original marble finish line, in the very first Olympic Oval. An experience to inspire hope, perserverance, and remembrance.
On the approach into the Olympic oval, there are ruins of statues. Athletes immortalized not for their great feats, but for being caught cheating. The statues stood as a reminder to all other athletes entering the oval, that the Olympics were about being your best, and forgetting the rest.
My father passed away in 2005, although I started target shooting sharing his passion, it was also this passion, and this sport, that helped me to find the light in the darkness. I will always remember his words of encouragement, and how having fun was the most important part, and I have written these words on my heart.
Although target shooting is primarily and individual sport, there are always teammates to rely on, and in 2010 I got to team up for the first time in my sports career with my sister to bring home a Team Bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Being team mates and competing with and against each other brings a whole new level to the term “sibling rivalry”. Leading up to the 2012 London Olympics I competed against my sister for the one Canadian spot at the Olympic Games. We were both trying to achieve a lifelong dream. In the end, I placed 2nd to my sister, Dorothy, and had the great privilege of going to the Olympics as part of her support staff. This was one of the most valuable experiences of my competition career, it gave me a new perspective on performance, and a new respect for the stress of being a coach! Target shooting taught me to always find the learning opportunity, so even in the throws of loss at the Olympic trials, I grasped the opportunity to view the Olympic Games from a lens athletes don’t usually get.
Target shooting has taught me all about overcoming adversity, even when the adversity is somewhat self-inflicted. Leading up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, I was expecting my first child, who arrived only 15 days before I left for the games! It may not have been the best executed plan I have ever had, however, I have learned that sometimes plans aren’t meant to be perfect, and although we may not be in control of the situation, we are in control of how we respond. I continued competing at a high level, and achieved some of my greatest success after the arrival of children. My kids push me to be someone better every day, and like my father taught me, I want to teach my kids there is no limit for what they can achieve.
2015 will forever be one of my favourite years, I placed 6th at the World Cup in South Korea, making it the first time a Canadian had been in a world cup pistol finals in over 20 years. I followed up that performance by taking double gold at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, where I got to hear the Canadian National anthem on home soil, with spectators singing along with me.
Double gold at the Pan American Games would be the pinacle of the season, as it brought with it a qualification to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The Olympic games were both invigorating and disappointing. It was an electric experience to be with all of the other athletes in that environment, and also frustrating that I did not perform the way I would have like to. Regardless of outcome, I always come back to the moment, to one shot, to the calm feeling of executing a shot to perfection.
Did you know?
Lynda's most nerve wracking experience on the range was watching her sister compete at the 2012 London Olympics, second only to watching her kids learn to skate.
When not training, traveling or competing, she's a wife, mother, and a civil engineer
Lynda's coach Lisa, has her own website www.lisaborgerson.com