Supporting Canadian Athletes

Lynda Hare

Lynda Hare is at home on the range.

She represents Canada as a straight-shooting athlete heading for the World Cup in Australia, then the Pan-American Games in October, and, hopefully, to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Working as a civil engineer in Calgary by day, Hare spends much of her free time training at the shooting range, a passion she picked up from her father. Hare’s father competed in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games as a member of Canada’s shooting team. After he retired, he began coaching his daughters, Hare and her sister Dorothy Ludwig.  He even built a range in the basement.

Hare started training at 11 years old and shot in her first provincial competition in 1992. She was the third alternate for the 1995 Canada Games, and became Canadian Junior Champion in 1998. She went to her first World Cup competition in 1999.  In 2003, she won the bronze medal at the Pan American Games, and she currently holds the Canadian National Championship title for air pistol.

At the 2010 Commonwealth Games Hare partnered with her sister to clinch the bronze medal, a career highlight performance.

Hare’s father remained her coach through her competitive career until he passed away in 2005.

Now Hare is pursuing her Olympic dream, one she shared with her dad. Pursuit of this dream means Hare has to balance a heavy training schedule with her full-time work as an engineer.
“Shooting isn’t a funded sport,” says Hare. “Until I get to the top international level, I’m doing a lot of my sport on my ‘passion’ fund.”

She’s not only rich with passion, she’s also extremely generous about sharing that passion. Up until last year, Hare served as an executive for the Alberta Hand Gun Association. And now, when her training schedule permits, she coaches junior athletes who shoot alongside her at the range.

Hare has also hosted two ladies shooting days. She invited women in the community to join her at the shooting range to test their skills with rental pistols, and to show them that shooting is not just a man’s sport. She said she had about 80 women at the weekend events, and received a lot of positive feedback.

Hare believes that it is important for athletes to be approachable. By hosting a women’s only event, she offered ladies the opportunity to learn about shooting from someone who understands them.

“I think it’s important (to do these kinds of activities) because athletes tend to have big dreams and realize their dreams,” she says. “So talking to kids and women as someone who is approachable makes doing the sport that much more realistic for them.”

In addition to planning her wedding this year and volunteering at her church in downtown Calgary, Hare is the athlete representative for the shooting team and attended her first AthletesCAN Forum in 2010, and said it was an “amazing experience.”

“Everything was such an eye opener,” she says. “I listened to representatives from Sport Canada talk about how programs are changing, learned about Sport Solution and appeal processes, and all about the programs that AthletesCAN offers.”
She said that part of her role this year will be to work on funding for shooting sports by changing the ranking systems within the sports.

“We’re working to slowly change it, bit by bit,” says Hare. “You can only make so many changes in a given year and getting feedback from the shooting athletes has been key for us this year.”

While at the AthletesCAN Forum, Hare also participated in the KidsCAN School Day, and she said that being part of that day was a phenomenal experience.  She believes strongly in mentoring young and potential athletes:  “I tell kids, ‘I started exactly where you’re starting; I was in your shoes.’ Athletes don’t see limitations, we find a way over or around (limitations) and push forward. That’s why athletes make great leaders. They’re so inspirational because they’re achieving what they’ve dreamt of doing all their lives.”

On occasion, Hare will bring some of her medals to the range to show to the young shooters. She said it’s a great feeling to have been in the sport so long—at first looking for inspiration from the athletes that her dad competed with, and now seeing that the up-and-coming kids look to her for inspiration. She’s come full circle.

Hare hopes to earn a spot on the 2012 Olympic team based on her performance in the Pan American Games coming up this October.

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