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Lydia Lassila

Ski Aerials
HOMETOWN
Melbourne, Australia
RESIDES
Melbourne, Australia

From a very young age Lydia’s goal was to win an Olympic Gold medal the only problem she faced was that she didn’t know what sport she wanted to do it in. At first she looked to gymnastics but, with opportunities missed, it was not meant to be and injury forced her into retirement at the age of 16. It was only when she heard of a unique program in Australia that was transforming ex-gymnasts into aerial skiers that she turned her attention to the snow. She had never even skied before, but her passion for competition and burning desire to be an Olympic Champion was enough to overcome any obstacle that stood in her way.

In less than two years, Lydia was competing in the finals of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, where she finished 8th. The following year in 2003, she was already ranked #2 in the world, which she backed up for another three years with multiple World Cup wins and podium finishes. Her rise to the top ranks was the most rapid in the sports history. In a way it was her over ambition and impatient nature that was keeping her from the elusive #1 spot as she describes herself “I wanted to push boundaries and break new ground in women’s aerial skiing and I wanted to jump like a man. In many ways, my will was stronger than my skills in the early days and I lacked patience and smart planning. I flew by the seat of my pants and often set myself up for injury and disappointment. I believed that my hard work would eventually pay off and it wasn’t until later in my career, after a devastating injury at the Torino Olympics in 2006, that I realised I didn’t need to work harder, I needed to work smarter.”

And that she did. After a number of knee operations Lydia returned to the sport in the 2007-2008 season and quickly regained her world #2 status. With her new outlook on competition she didn’t stay there for long. One month before the Vancouver Olympics she scored a 220.91 executing a new jump that no woman had ever completed before. That year in Vancouver Lassila achieved her childhood dream and won the Olympic Gold medal in the highest scoring final of all time and became world #1 (see Lydia's Gold Vancouver performance).

Lydia’s gold medal was her most prized possession but only up until Mother’s Day 2011, when her son Kai was introduced to the world.

She returned to competition in December 2012, placing second in Changchun, China - her first World Cup competition in three years. She won two medals from five World Cups in the 2013/14 pre-Olympic season.  In Sochi Lydia aimed to make history, choosing a jump that no other woman in the history of the sport had attempted in competition – a quad twisting triple somersault.  The high degree of difficulty jump scored her 72.12 points and the bronze medal. 

In 2016 the movie-length documentary The Will To Fly recording Lydias life and sport was released to critical acclaim. 

Lydia has again returned to competition at the beginning of 2017, in a bid to return to the Winter Olympics for 2018. In February she won her first World Cup event since 2014 at Deer Valey. She then went on to obtain the second and the third World Cup wins at the end of February in Minsk and in the beginning of March 2017 in Moscow.

You can stay up to date with Lydia and her family on her blog lydialassila.com.au

 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Lydia has competed in 81 Aerial Skiing World Cups and World Championships, capturing 35 podiums of which thirteen have been gold.  

World Cup

2002-2003 – 2nd
2003-2004 – 2nd
2004-2005 – 2nd
2007-2008 – 2nd
2008-2009 – 1st
2010 - 1st
2016-2017 - 3rd 


Olympic Games

Salt Lake City 2002 – 8th
Torino 2006 – 14th
Vancouver 2010 – 1st
Sochi 2014 - 3rd 

Current World Record
220.91 points, Deer Valley, Utah, USA 2010 (Jump combination: Lay-Double Full-Full & Lay-Full-Full)