Lydia Lassila

Lydia Lassila (née Ierodiaconou) (born 17 January 1982) is an Australian Olympic freestyle skier gold medalist who competed in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She is the 2010 Olympic champion and the 2014 bronze medalist.

Lydia Lassila
Lassila at the 2010 Winter Olympics
Personal information
Born (1982-01-17) 17 January 1982[1]
Melbourne, Australia
EducationBachelor's degree
Alma materRMIT University
OccupationSkier & Entrepreneur and Motivational Speaker
AgentOne Management & Consulting
Height157 cm (5 ft 2 in)
Weight52 kg (115 lb)
Spouse(s)Lauri Lassila
Other interestsSurfing, Skiing, Travel
Country Australia
SportFreestyle skiing
Coached byMichel Roth[1]

On 20 October 2010, Lassila was awarded the prestigious 'The Don' award by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame,[2] which recognised her ability to inspire as well as her achievements during 2010, including her gold medal performance at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Personal life

Lydia Lassila (née Ierodiaconou) was born 17 January 1982[3] in Melbourne, Australia. She is of Greek-Cypriot and Italian descent. Her mother is Italian and her father Cypriot.[4]

Lassila completed her primary schooling at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Primary School in Sunshine, Victoria, and completed her secondary education at Methodist Ladies' College, Melbourne and Westbourne Grammar School. She completed a bachelor's degree in Applied Science (Human Movement) at RMIT University.[5] She is married to Lauri Lassila,[1] a Finnish former professional freestyle skier, whose career included placing 2nd in moguls at the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Championships in 1999. She gave birth to her first son in 2011 after winning Gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Her second son was born in 2015 after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics where she claimed bronze.[1] Lassila is a motivational speaker and founded her company BodyICE in 2007 after her own experience with managing injury. Lassila is sponsored by Suzuki. Lassila supports the Essendon Bombers in the AFL.


In June 2005, Lassila suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and underwent radical knee reconstruction[1] in which a cadaver's achilles tendon was grafted into her knee to replace her damaged ACL. This allowed for a faster recovery and a swift return to the slopes in time for the start of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in February.

During the second qualifying round of the Torino aerials competition, Lassila's knee collapsed on impact after she attempted to land a difficult jump, re-rupturing her ACL[1] and forcing her to withdraw. However, taking inspiration from compatriots and teammates Jacqui Cooper and Alisa Camplin, both of whom have suffered similar knee injuries, the then 24-year-old Lassila vowed to return to the sport when she recovered.

Lassila made her comeback to World Cup competition 16 months later in China in December 2007, collecting a silver medal in her first event.

She ended the 2007/08 season ranked second in the World Cup standings, and then went on to win her first World Cup title in the following 2008/09 season.

2010 Winter Olympics

At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Lassila won gold in the aerials, getting Australia's second gold medal for the games after snowboarder Torah Bright won gold in the halfpipe, also at Cypress Mountain. This medal was also the second gold for an Australian in the aerials at all Winter Olympic Games, after Alisa Camplin in 2002. There was a lot of pressure and hype from the Australian press for Lassila to do well as world number one. She was in second position after the first jump of the final, before posting the highest scoring second round jump. The leader after the first jump, Xu Mengtao, had the last jump, but scored more than 25 points below Lassila's second jump to fall down the rankings into sixth, due to a failed landing. Lassila had a combined score of 214.74, beating second placed Li Nina with 207.23 points. Australian team-mates Jacqui Cooper and Elizabeth Gardner finished 5th with 194.29 and 12th with 86.70 respectively.[6]

2014 Winter Olympics

Lassila achieved a Bronze medal in the Freestyle Skiing Women's Aerials event. Her jump was a quad-twisting triple somersault.[7] If she had 'landed' it she would have been the first woman to do so, but she landed hard[8] and 'slapped' down on her back on landing. Her score for the aerial was 72.12.[7] Lassilas' prior jumps were scored at 95.76 and 99.22.[1]

Return to competition

At the beginning of 2017, Lassila returned to competition in a bid to return to the Winter Olympics for 2018. On 3 February 2017 she won her first World Cup event since 2014, clinching a close fought victory ahead of Kiley McKinnon (USA) and Xu Mengtao (CHN) at Deer Valley. 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.


Apart from her sporting medals, Lassila has also received other honours and awards:

  • 2010 Australian Institute of Sport 'Athlete of the Year'[9]
  • 2010 Sport Australia Hall of Fame, 'The Don' Award[2]
  • 2010 Governor’s Award for the Victorian Sportsperson of the Year[10]
  • 2010 Victorian Female Athlete of the Year- Kitty McEwan Award[11]
  • 2010 Ski and Snowboard Australia Athlete of the Year[12]


Lydia is the subject of a feature documentary film called The Will To Fly that chronicles her life and sport pursuits.[13] The film was released in Australia in 2016 to much critical acclaim.[14][15] The international release is intended for 2017.

Australian Survivor

In 2018, Lassila appeared as a contestant on Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, competing in the fifth season of the competitive reality television series Australian Survivor as part of the Champions tribe.[16] In the beginning of the game, Lassila dominated in challenges, winning for her tribe in many instances. Lassila made very strong relationships in the game, notably with fellow contestants Mat Rogers and Shane Gould. Come the merge, Lassila was seen as a physical threat by many contestants and was voted out in 12th place.[17]


  1. "Lydia Lassila (Ierodiaconou); Sochi 2014". Archived from the original on 16 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  2. "Lassila wins Don award". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation - 21 October 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  3. "Lydia LASSILA; Freestyle Skiing; Australia - Sochi 2014 Olympics". Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  4. Lydia Lassila bio@ NBC Olympics Archived 1 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Gold for RMIT graduate". RMIT University ( 25 February 2010. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  6. "Ladies' Aerials - Final Results Summary - 2010 Winter Olympics". International Olympics Committee. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  7. Andrew Webster (15 February 2014). "Sochi Winter Olympics: 'I've left my mark forever', says emotional bronze medalist Lydia Lassila". Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  8. Daniel Fallon and Andrew Webster (15 February 2014). "Sochi Winter Olympics: Defending Olympic champion Lydia Lassila takes bronze in the ladies' aerials final". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  9. "Lassila honoured as AIS Athlete of the Year". Australian Sports Commission - 21 December 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  10. "Lassila named Victorian Sportsperson of the Year" (pdf) (Press release). 21 December 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  11. "2010 Victorian Sport Awards". VicSport. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  12. "Australian Ski & Snowboard Awards - Ski & Snowboard Australia". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  13. "The Will To Fly film". The Will To Fly - official website. Binding Films Pty Ltd.
  14. Sharwood, Anthony. "The Will To Fly Featuring Australian Aerial Skier Lydia Lassila Is The Most Inspirational Movie Of The Year". The Huffington Post. HPMG News. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  15. "Further press links". The Will To Fly - official site. Binding Films Pty Ltd.
  16. Moran, Jonathan (2 August 2018). "Network Ten celebrates Survivor Australia's solid ratings but will they last?". The Daily Telegraph. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  17. "Australian Survivor's Lydia Lassila blindsided in first tribal council since the merge". Now To Love. Bauer Media. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Emma Moffatt and Brenton Rickard
Australian Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Anna Meares
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