Twisting, history-making Lassila focuses on aerials legacy
Australia's bronze medalist Lydia Lassila on the podium during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Aerials Medal Ceremony at the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 15, 2014 - by Antonin Thuillier
The 32-year-old mother won bronze in Friday's competition, failing to match her gold medal achievement from Vancouver four years ago, but said the historic first full-double-full-full by a woman that she performed on her final jump was worth more to her than any title.
Before Lassila tried it in the Olympic 'super final', no woman had ever performed a quadruple twist in competition.
"I'm really happy with the bronze, I came into these Olympics wanting to get the most out of myself and wanting to push the sport," she said.
"(I wanted) to lift barriers and inspire other women to do harder tricks and really get the most out of myself. I wanted to be the first to do a quadruple twisting triple somersault, which I did this week for the first time.
"My coach and I decided if we had the opportunity to get to the 'super final', we would do it."
Asked what she would most hope to be remembered for once she hangs up her skis, Lassila was unequivocal.
"I really hope it's for the trick I did (Friday) and what I've tried to do for this sport," she said.
"I really hope I've left my mark and inspired some athletes, and in particular the female field, to keep pushing on and to transfer from doubles to triples.
"Day by day, year by year, I've been building up to this moment, to this quad-triple, and it means the world to me that I've done it. I know a lot of people are going to remember that for a very long time."
For Lassila, landing that jump -- she actually fell backwards on her landing, which probably cost her the gold medal -- was the culmination of a lifetime ambition.
"I really feel like I have reached my potential," she said.
"I set out to do this trick 15 years ago. When I took part in my first World Cup (event) in Australia in 1999, I saw the guys doing these amazing triples and I said: 'one day I am going to do it', and 15 years later I did. I'm super happy."
But although she wants to revel in her ground-breaking jump, Lassila said she's in no hurry to repeat it any time soon.
"I don't want to do it at the moment. I've had enough of being terrified," she said.
Now Lassila is hoping authorities are going to build a water jump so the next generation of athletes from Australia will be able to keep pace with the best in the world.
"It's been so challenging. These girls that are coming through now could gain so much by having it," she said.
"We can gain a huge edge on China, the US and Canada. We don't have to be at the mercy of these countries any more for their facilities.
"We can run our own show. You can't send a lot of athletes to these countries because of the cost. It's a game-changer. We shouldn't wait. We should do it now."
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