Australian aerial’s skier Lydia Lassila took a huge breath, looked down at her coach and then went for it, unsure if this would be the final jump of an illustrious career spanning five editions of the Olympic Winter Games. It turned out that it was.
There was to be no fairy-tale finish, as the 36-year-old missed out on the PyeongChang 2018 final after wiping out in the qualification round on 15 February. Eventually she finished in 14th place.
“It’s the nature of the beast,” said the Australian philosophically. “There are elements that we can’t control. It’s tough, we know that. My story is over and that’s OK. I’m ready for it.”
Her bronze-medal-winning performance four years later in Sochi included one of the highlight moments of the Games – a stunning quadruple twisting triple somersault that clinched her place on the podium, in spite of landing on her back.
Loving every minute
After her final jump at Bokwang Phoenix Snow Park, Lassila was quick to thwart any talk of a sixth appearance at the Games. “I am going to retire, which I'm kind of looking forward to as well,” she said.
“I have loved every minute and whilst it's horrible now and I'll probably go home and cry for a few hours in disappointment, I'm grateful for my health, the opportunity, for what this sport taught me.”
Lassila added that aerials had given her so much in her life, and that for this she would always be thankful.
“It's stripped me down to my core," she said. "I know who I am, and I'm really grateful for that opportunity.”
Lassila has combined competing at the top level with raising two young sons and managing a busy work life, and says she hopes she has shown what can be achieved.