What a superstar. Lydia Lassila just rolls on. And twists and flips and skis on.
If you've forgotten, Lassila, 35, is the Winter Olympic gold medallist from Vancouver 2010, who backed up with bronze at the Sochi 2014 Games. She then had her second child, made an inspirational autobiographical movie, and strongly considered retirement.
The one thing that could encourage Lassila to stay in the sport and prepare for a fifth Olympics next February in PyeongChang, Korea? A decent training facility in Australia. Said facility has now been approved which means the Lydia show continues.
And how. On the weekend, Lassila won the World Cup event in Minsk, Belarus. It was her second win in just four events in her comeback season.
We'd be pretty happy too if we could land a triple-twisting double somersault with such apparent ease.
Lassila is an amazing role model for athletes. At the last Olympics in Sochi, she could have played it safe and quite likely won a gold medal. But she already had one of those. So she went for something even bigger. She went for history (and hopefully another gold as a cherry on top).
She achieved the history part of the equation, as she became the first woman to land a quad-twisting triple somersault. Wow. She didn't nail the landing which is why she only won a bronze medal, but still, the whole thing was very, very Lydia and awesome.
But Lassila's win on the weekend was just the latest triumph by Australian winter sports athletes. Six different Australians have won events over the northern hemisphere winter. They are:
- Mogul skier Britt Cox, who won so often she's the new World Cup champion;
- Mogul skier Matt Graham, who showed a nice touch of Aussie humility when beating the Canadians on their own snow;
- Alex "Chumpy" Pullin, the dual world champion snowboard cross star who won last week in Germany;
- Snowboard Cross athlete Belle Brockhoff, who had some fightin' words for Vladimir Putin in 2014 which made Tony Abbott's "shirtfront" threat seem tame;
- Lydia, and;
- Aerial skier Danielle Scott.
Now it's probably a little unfair to relegate Scott to the bottom of this story, because she's had numerous podium finishes this year, and currently leads Lassila -- and everybody else -- in the World Cup standings.
"It was such a fantastic day and huge that, as a team, we are all working so well together," Scott said after finishing second to Lassila in Minsk.
It is indeed.
And while our sporting attention is mostly engaged by the football season which is suddenly upon us, and by the cricket which never seems to end, it's worth noting that if the Winter Olympics were held tomorrow, Australia would finish in the top 10 in the medal tally if all our athletes performed at their best.