A devastating injury was not enough to stop Lydia Lassila from going where no woman had gone before, writes Jake Wilson.

Sydney Morning Herald 5th March, 2016.

Freestyle aerial skiing is, without question, 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 – a world record holder, a gold medal winner at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and the only woman to pull off a quad-twisting triple somersault, a feat previously reserved for men.

All this is recounted in The Will to Fly, a new documentary directed by the team of Katie Bender, a former aerial skier who trained with Lassila, and Leo Baker, an animator who worked on the Oscar-winning short film The Lost Thing.

Several years in the making, the film serves as a primer on aerial skiing and the achievements of Australian women in particular, while chronicling Lassila’s quest to get back in gear for the 2014 Sochi Olympics after becoming a mother.

In person, Lassila is a disarming mix of friendliness and intensity, with an easy laugh, wide brown eyes, and a frankness about her weaknesses that registers as a form of strength…

01 March 2016



Olympic champion freestyle aerial skier Lydia Lassila, subject of the new documentary The Will to Fly, talks about her career, family and her bid to master the jump no woman has yet nailed.

27 February 2016


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.”

26 February 2016


Victorian creative team Katie Bender and Leo Baker are soaring to great heights with their project The Will to Fly, released nationally on 10 March.

Film Victoria showcase, February 26 2016.

Richard Stubbs from ABC 774 Radio interviews Lydia Lassila and Katie Bender about The Will To Fly film.

Lydia Lassila and producer Katie Bender chat to Eddie McGuire, Mick Molloy and Luke Darcy about The Will To Fly after the release of the movie trailer.