I was privileged to watch a pre-screening of the movie “The Will to Fly” – an inspiring, feature length sports documentary about Lydia Lassila – an Australian mother, Olympic champion in aerial skiing, and the first woman in the world to compete the “quadruple twisting, triple somersault” on skis! Here is the Movie Review by Mum2Athletes.
This is an inspiring feature film which left me feeling an overwhelming sense of awe and admiration for this amazing woman. In her younger years, you can see an unwavering determination and immense competitiveness in her psyche. Combined with her natural talent and athletic ability, she became a dominant force in her new sport.
The film identifies the differing stages through Lydia’s aerial skiing career. She starts as the gutsy rookie but some would say “crazy” in her younger days where she would immediately pop back up after crashing to take another jump. This was particularly hard to watch – Lydia is one tough cookie! After periods of up, downs and injuries, Lydia found her mental breakthrough after seeking support from a Sports Mind Coach to “unlock my mind to be the best athlete I could be.” She then enjoyed a period of success from here up to her 2010 Olympic gold medal win. Her last chapter in this film is as the experienced, matured athlete and mother who chases down her long time dream (since the age of 19) to jump like the boys!
Lydia’s tenacity stood out. And along with her undeniable talent, she was able to conquer her goals. It was extremely surprising to understand just how many significant setbacks she endured over the years with major injuries. Her ability to bounce back and refocus to achieve new heights was therefore even more admirable.
I really enjoyed the candid and honest commentary from Lydia’s peers, particularly from Jacqui Cooper, Alissa Camplin and Kirstie Marshall – all Australian female aerial skiing champions who made their own mark on the sport. They provided independent insight into Lydia’s personality. Interviews with coaches delivered the perspective needed to appreciate not only her talent but the enormity of her final goal. The documentary also provides a glimpse into Lydia’s family which allows you to understand the sacrifice she makes to be away from her young son in order to train and compete, and also that of her husband and extended family in providing assistance. The film highlights this major support network as crucial to enabling Lydia to chase her dreams.
This is a very positive and empowering story that parents and young athletes will both be able to appreciate. The film presents many themes including mental strength, determination, hard work and resilience. It also raises the topics of gender equality and women in sport. Specific to young athletes, there are lessons to be learned about patience, training smarter not harder, but also to dare to dream outside the boundaries if you are willing to work hard and never give up. Lydia’s performance at her last Olympics was also based on her ethic that winning is not everything “but going for greatness in a sport and doing something no one had done was more important.”
I would highly recommend “The Will to Fly” to all sports lovers. As a personal tale, this film would also appeal to anyone interested in a true story of someone overcoming continued adversity to achieve their goals. I will be taking both my girls to watch this film when publicly released.
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