Freestyle aerial skiing is one of the most spectacular sports ever invented: “something like diving, something like gymnastics, something like throwing yourself off a cliff”.
No Australian has achieved more in this field than Lydia Lassila OAM – an Olympic Champion, World Record holder and the only woman to pull off a quad-twisting triple somersault, a feat previously reserved for men.
From an early age, Lydia always had her sights set on the Olympic Games. She started out as a gymnast, before an injury in her teens led her to try out aerial skiing.
Lydia herself says she doesn't entirely know the source of her lifelong drive to excel. "I remember having that intensity and looking at other kids, going 'Why aren't they concentrating?!”
Aerial skiing is a high-risk sport, and her successes came at the price of frequent injuries. Particularly devastating was the crash that shattered her knee at the 2006 Torino Olympics, where she had been the favourite for the gold.
With time off her skis in rehabilitation and recovering from surgery, Lydia became frustrated with the inefficiency of current cold therapy products on the market that leaked, slipped and were not cold enough.
She decided to design and develop BodyICE – a range of ice packs that are easy to travel with, offer compression and mobility and service any joint or area on the body. Leaving no stone unturned, and using the highest quality of products, Lydia coupled the traditional ice bag with elastic neoprene compression straps all carefully designed to fit specific joints and areas.
BodyICE is a no-fuss ice and compression system that comfortably secures around injured joints and body parts, and her innovation played an integral part in her recovery and management of all kinds of injury, helping her reach the pinnacle of her sport.
“I couldn’t find an ice pack that would fit, be cold enough and be effective enough! I think they are the best kinds of products – ones that are born out of actual experience and a real need. I started with the recovery range which was more out of my own horrible circumstance and blew my knee,” she said.
It was her journey into motherhood that inspired BodyICE Woman – a range of stylishly designed remedial ice and heat packs just for women offering calming relief to the perineum after childbirth and breasts throughout the breastfeeding journey.
“My next experience was motherhood. I was in hospital and they and they gave me stuff to help, like frozen condoms and wet pads and I just thought, ‘there’s got to be a better solution than this!’ Going through that process of childbirth was another experience where it was just like, oh gosh, we can do better than this. Women deserve better than this we’ve got to look after our mums post childbirth!”
BodyICE Kids was again borne out of necessity. With very few effective and attractive options on the market, Lydia designed her own range of gel bead ice and heat packs to soothe knocks and bruises or comfort the little ones in our lives with warmth.
“Watching Kai grow into a toddler, bumps and bruises and things like that – there wasn’t anything suitable for him as well! And that’s where the kids range came from!”
The entire range of products that have all been designed and based on real experiences seem to have come about so organically for Lydia that it is almost unbelievable, even for her!
“I didn’t really think at the time – because I was so focused on being an athlete – that I knew I was starting a business, but it was never a priority for me, and it just grew without me really doing anything!”
Lydia has created a range of products that meet a need and fill a gap. What Lydia did was put herself out there in a way that not many others do successfully, completely owning her experiences and what she had struggled with and transforming it into something really quite amazing.
Lydia is an absolute powerhouse of a woman and the kind of person we all need in our lives to look up to; for proof of how much one person can actually, truly achieve. Not only is she a complete professional in what she does, but she has completely shattered preconceived notions and expectations of herself and female athletes around the globe.