WINTER Olympics medallist Lydia Lassila wanted nothing else but to take aerial skiing to the next level at Sochi, her Warrnambool-based brother believes.
Daniel Ierodiaconou watched beaming with pride as his younger sister clinched bronze in the women’s aerial final in the early hours of Saturday.
Lassila, 32, scored 72.12 with her second jump — a quad-twisting triple summersault which no woman had attempted in a competition before.
The gold medal was hers had she executed the trick. But she fell backwards while landing as Belrussian Alla Tsuper took the gold with 99.01. Ierodiaconou, 36, said he was rapt for Lassila, who won gold at Vancouver and has since become a mother to two-year-old Kai.
“She’s been talking about being able to do that trick for a long time, since she first saw men perform the trick 15 years ago,” he said.
“It was her vision to really have a go and give it her all.
‘‘If it worked out, it worked out.
‘‘If not, them’s the breaks.
“I don’t think she has any regrets at all doing what she did.
‘‘Why should she?
‘‘She’s a bronze medallist.
“She had the guts to have a go at something no woman in the world had ever tried.”
Ierodiaconou said Lassila had taken the hard road to the bronze medal.
She endured back issues and tingling in her knees leading up to the Games.
She also crashed in training, suffering a knee injury which put her in doubt before she started, and then tumbled on her first jump in qualifying.
“We’ve texted a couple of times, she feels really good. We’re looking forward to seeing her when she comes home in a week-and-a-half,” Ierodiaconou said.
“Mum has got on Skype with her and we’ll probably try and Skype her tonight.
‘‘She’s exhausted emotionally and physically.”
Ierodiaconou was also impressed how quickly his sister reached full fitness after giving birth to Kai in May, 2011.
“She’s always enjoyed the challenge, she’s always worked hard in the gym,” he said. ‘‘She’s strong, incredibly strong, always puts the effort in.’’
Lassila told reporters she and her coach Michel Roth had decided to take the “all-or-nothing” approach in search of a medal.
“I have been wanting to do that trick for 15 years,” she said.
“My first World Cup that I saw at Mount Buller in 1999, I saw the guys going off and I was mesmerised.
“I couldn’t ski yet but I was mesmerised and I’m like ‘I want to jump like a guy, I want to do that trick’.
“It’s been a long journey ever since and I’ve been trying my whole career to do that, which was important for me to do.”