Lassila, competing in a transformed Bird’s Nest stadium, the centrepiece of the 2008 summer Olympic Games, spearheaded an impressive day for Australia’s women’s squad.
Three Australian Institute of Sport / Victorian Institute of Sport athletes filled three of the top seven places, the squad’s best performance of the season.
Danielle Scott’s and Laura Peel’s sixth and seventh places added to the inspiring day for the Aussie team in front of about 27,000 spectators at the Bird’s Nest and a TV audience estimated to be more than 100 million people.
Both Scott and Peel added triple twisting double somersaults into their competition plans in Beijing. Sam Wells finished in 23rd place while Renee Mcelduff was 26th.
The event was won by Chinese athlete Zhang Xin, with her team mate Mengtao Xu taking the other podium place.
But for the Australians, the day belonged to the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games gold medallist who prevailed in a format that will mirror the way the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games will be staged.
After competing in just her seventh World Cup event since the Vancouver Games and the birth of her son, Lassila described the day, the third stop of this season’s tour, as “it’s brutal, it’s tough, it’s hard”.
Lassila and the other 21 athletes started jumping at about 3pm, with the super final between the day’s top four skiers, finishing at about 8.30pm.
Lassila executed 10 triples for the day, the highest number of triples she has executed in competition throughout her World Cup career which started in 2001.
Lassila said that until today, seven or eight triples were a demanding day.
“It was a long day with a lot of jumps. That’s what the Olympics are going to be and I’m really happy I made it through all of the rounds, made the distance, which was a concern for me. But I handled it really well,” she said.
Lassila said that her pre-event plan was to introduce a new trick, a full full full –three flips with three twists – if she qualified for the four woman super final. This is a jump she has not attempted in four years.
Although Lassila did not land the full full full cleanly, she said she was “really happy with the jump.”
“I was a little nervous about the new trick but I was super close on the landing,” she said.
“It was nicely controlled and the landing was right there, not that far away.
“That gave me a ton of confidence to take into the Christmas break.”
“Today was a great opportunity to experience the format."