Mon, September 23, 2013

Ludwig wins Olympic shootout

Beats out sister to qualify for London Games

By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency


Dorothy Ludwig will competing in the 10-metre air pistol at the Olympics. (QMI File photo)

OTTAWA - Dorothy Ludwig actually could have been happy not going to the Olympic Games. She could have been content cheering on her sister.

At the same time, Ludwig is even happier that she is the daughter of three-time Olympian Bill Hare and will be representing Canada in the 10-metre air pistol event and not her sister, Lynda Kiejko.

Born in Renfrew, moved to South Mountain when she was one and then to Langley, B.C., when she was five, Ludwig is most deserving of the opportunity in London.

After all, it was her who narrowly clinched a quota spot for Canada at the Pan American Games last October. Still, she had to outshoot Kiejko and Lea Wachowich at the Olympic trials in March to achieve her dream.

“Definitely bittersweet,” the 33-year-old said of beating out her younger sibling to qualify for her first Olympics. “I want to see her succeed, but at the same time I also want to reach my own goals. It was definitely a very difficult position to be in, but we also have such an amazing relationship, that no matter what we’re able to support each other, be there for one another, to be happy for each other when we do have successes.

“And to be able to be sympathetic and understanding when there are losses, as well.”

Even now, she’s not about to declare that she is a better shooter than Kiejko.

“It depends on the day,” said Ludwig, who still has family in Ottawa. “Statistically speaking, I have won more matches than her. But she can beat me easily on any day of the week. She trains really hard, she practises really hard. We’ve trained under the same people and for the same amount of time. For the competition for the Olympic Trials, we all qualified in order to compete for Canada. Any of us could have won that day.”

Neither of Hare’s girls needed any prodding when their dad, after deciding to retire from competitive shooting, asked if they wanted to sign up for the junior program he was starting up some two decades ago. After years of diligent practise and strong showings in competitions, Ludwig proved she was world-class material in 1995.

“It definitely started to open up a lot of things when I went to the Canada Winter Games and ended up getting a gold medal there,” she said. “I really found that this is something I’m good at, and I can actually be engaged in with other competitors at the same level, and really was able to see that this is something I might be able to pursue nationally and then later even internationally.”

An administrative assistant at the Christian, non-profit organization Power To Change, Ludwig is on the range 2-3 times a week and in the gym about the same amount, adding a series of exercises she does at home to her training regiment.

All of the hours she has spent over the years doing something she loves have her more than ready for the big stage.

“It’s really exciting,” Ludwig said of going to the Games. “It’s not something that we get a large opportunity to do with shooting, obviously, because we only have one woman pistol shooter and one male rifle shooter going, so there’s not a lot of representation with Canada, so it is really exciting to be able to be there, to be competing for Canada on such a large scale and with the best in the world. It’s a real honour.”

Little sister Lynda will be cheering her on.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca