LYNDON DYKES has vowed to bend over backwards to succeed at Livingston – after being inspired by his gymnast sister.
Dykes’ older sibling, Hollie, shot to stardom in Australia after claiming a four-medal haul at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
She achieved gold in the team and floor exercises, silver on the beam and bronze in the all-round event and was lauded as one of the top Aussie athletes in her field.
Hollie hung up her leotard at the age of just 17 for personal reasons but Lyndon is adamant his passion for sport and will to win owes much to his sister’s determination to become one of the best in the world.
Dykes said: “I grew up surrounded by sport, especially my sister Hollie, who was a gymnast and won two golds at the Melbourne Games.
“She was always an inspiration. The work ethic needed for her training was incredible. She was at the Australian Institute of Sport [AIS] in Canberra at a young age and the demands were unreal. It was really eye-opening.
“She’s pretty well known back home and, although she has been retired for a few years, she still has a really good reputation.
“I was always running around the AIS as a kid, kicking balls, throwing basketballs and all-sorts. So, I’ve maybe got her to thank for giving me that love for sport.
“When I saw how much work she put in, it’s hard for me to then say: ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘that’s too tough’. She’s set the bar and I want to make sure that determination runs on the family.”
Dykes’ own route to the Scottish top-flight has been a circuitous one. He was a highly-rated rugby union starlet in his youth and was attracting interest from several local clubs – and he readily admits that sport was his first love.
But a move from Canberra to the picturesque Aussie Gold Coast saw an opportunity to shine with a round ball present itself.
Dykes continued: “I started playing rugby league when I was younger but when I made that switch to football, I stuck with it.
“It took me a bit of time to then become a professional but when I made my decision, I vowed to get my head down and work as hard as I possibly could to get to the highest level I can.
“I preferred rugby league growing up and there were several professional teams interested in me where I grew up. I was a decent full-back! But I moved with my mum to the Gold Coast from Canberra and that was where I really got into football.
“The rugby league just faded away and it became an easier decision. My uncle played football as well so it was maybe meant to be.”
After plying his trade in his homeland with extravagantly-named amateurs such as Mudgeeraba, Merriman and Surfers Paradise Apollo, Dykes landed a move to Queen of the South in 2016 and grasped his big chance.
He scored 22 goals in 136 outings for the Doonhamers and, having helped them to Championship survival last term, insists he is ready to shine in the Premiership.
Dykes added: “I believe I can make this step up, 100 per cent.
“Queens were my first professional club and I started at quite a late age compared to some players. But I managed to make that leap and I reckon I can do it again.
“It’s about working hard and walking the walk. I want to be that bit better every day, every week, every season.”