For Dorothy Ludwig, shooting is all in the family. Her father, United Church of Canada reverend Bill Hare, was known as "The Pistol-Packing Preacher" for his target-shooting exploits, which saw him compete in the Olympics in 1964, 1968 and 1972. Hare built a shooting range in his basement, and daughters Ludwig and Lynda Kiejko both became top shots. The two teamed up to win bronze in the 10-metre air pistol pairs at the 2010 Commonwealth Games (they're pictured with their medals from that event at right), and the Renfrew, Ontario-born Ludwig had to defeat her sister in the Canadian trials to qualify for the London Games, but Kiejko will be in attendance at the Olympics to support her. Ludwig, who now trains in Langley, B.C., also won the gold medal in the 10-metre air pistol event at the 2011 Pan-Am Games, and she could potentially be a medal threat in that event in London. She told the National Post's Sean Fitz-Gerald that although her father died seven years ago in a car accident, she sees shooting as a way to carry on his legacy:
"It's really exciting," Ludwig said. "It's a real honour to carry on this little piece that my dad started, and to know that I get to share in an experience that he had. It's like being able to hold onto a little piece of him."
Shooting is far from the most famous Olympic sport out there, but it's been contested at every modern Olympics except the 1904 and 1928 editions. It's also grown from two events in 1932 to 15 events in these Games, with both men and women competing in pistol, rifle and shotgun events. (Oddly enough, the pistols used are banned in the United Kingdom, so it took a special goverment dispensation to let Ludwig's event go ahead.)
Things have changed substantially from Hare's day, too; in 1972, for example, there were no separate women's events, so the four women who entered competed against men in the eight events offered, and there was no 10-metre pistol competition. Still, the basic principle of the sport remains the same, and given Hare's love of it, you can bet he'd be proud to see his daughter competing on the Olympic stage. As his wife Fran told Fitz-Gerald, shooting, family and the church were all key passions for him:
"I did ask him one time: 'Which comes first, if you were ordering the way your life is — the church, the shooting or me?'" Fran Hare said with another chuckle. "And his response was: 'If you're in the top three, you're in the medals!' "