Week 14: Lynda Kiejko
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a professional engineer, B.Sc Civil Engineering (2003), Olympic Pistol shooter (26 years of competition), wife (almost 7 years), mother of 2 (almost 4 years experience), and current student at Queens University, Smith School of Business. I started pistol shooting, and engineering, because I was inspired by my father, and he taught me what respect was in relationships, as I was blessed to witness my parents many years of marriage! I love pistol shooting because I am terrible at most other sports, although I had to train just as hard in pistol shooting as I would have in any other event! I competed alongside my sister, competing at a major games for the first time in 2010 where we brought home a team Bronze from the Commonwealth Games. My sister (Dorothy Ludwig) would go on to win the Pan American Games in 2011 before we would go head to head for the one spot at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She won, I rose to the occasion by stepping in as her coach, and learning everything I could about the Olympics, so I could be prepared for when I made my own Olympic debut in 2016, after becoming a double gold medalist at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
I loved basketball, and played badminton when I was young, but never excelled enough to keep making the high school teams. I have always admired runners, skiers and skaters as they are three things I lack the speed or coordination for. My family is what inspires me daily now. Taking joy in the small moments and finding opportunities to build memories like my parents did with me.
How has sport helped you develop skills for your work today?
Sport taught me how to apply myself, narrow my focus, and keep on task until the task was done. We live in a world that promotes multi-tasking, but staying focused is really important when working through problems. Sport has also helped me develop my confidence, and to reach for new goals that stretch me to become something better, and then achieve it.
Who is a leader you admire and why?
She’s a woman that not many outside the United Church may have heard of, Fran Hare, and I know her as my mom. I am not sure she would really call herself a leader, however, going through theological college in the 60’s and being one of the only women ordained as a United Church Minister at the time, she was leading the way. She accomplished these things long before I was born, however, she completed her graduate thesis while I watched sesame street. The commitment it takes to raise kids, while completing a degree, without the kids feeling deprived or neglected, is astounding. She still inspires me, encourages me, and also helps to ground me. She is one of the kindest, and gentlest people I have ever known, but she is also one of the strongest, and has a natural gift for pulling out the truth in a situation and standing by you while you face it.
What is one piece of advice would you have for young female athletes today?
To be bold, to embrace the challenges and the struggles, because that’s where we learn the most about ourselves, and that’s where we discover how great we can be. Nothing worth having comes easy, but triumphing through the struggle is a greater reward than I can express!