Sochi Games heroes Lydia Lassila and David Morris say they may not compete at another Olympics unless Australia builds training facilities.
Australia’s Sochi Winter Olympics heroes Lydia Lassila and David Morris have refused to commit their future to aerial skiing unless the country builds new training facilities.
The pair and snowboarder Torah Bright were the country’s only medal winners in Sochi and with the latter’s long term future also unclear, Australia could struggle come the Pyeongchang Games of 2018.
Lassila took bronze in the freestyle aerials at Sochi, Morris won a surprise silver in the men’s competition and Bright secured a silver medal in the snowboard halfpipe.
Lassila and Morris say they won’t compete this season and refused to commit their longer term future to the sport, in lieu of an aerial skiing training facility being built.
“I’m not going to compete this year and take a year off to get on top of life,” Lassila told AAP at an official ‘welcome home’ event in Sydney for the country’s Winter Olympians and Paralympians.
“I’ve got a son who turned three yesterday and we’re away so much every year that a four-year cycle is a lot to invest in.
“If I do go back it’s really dependent on whether we get Australian training facilities – otherwise I can’t.
“My son will be at school soon so I physically can’t do it.”
Morris didn’t rule out another tilt at the Winter Games but said an aerial skiing training facility would make his life much easier and encourage far more talent into the sport.
He said the Australian aerial skiing squad had to scramble for training facilities in the run-up to all of the recent Winter Olympics.
“We’re at the mercy of other of other nations a lot and in the run-up to Vancouver (the 2010 Winter Olympics) they actually kicked us out of their facilities because there suddenly ‘wasn’t enough room’,” he said.
“If we had our training facility we could train any time of the year because it would be the only facility in the world that didn’t freeze over.”
A $6 million aerial skiing training facility had been due to be built in Brisbane but funding was withdrawn last year.
The other possible site is at Lennox Head, on NSW’s north coast, but there has been no firm funding promise from the government to kick in funding.
Both Lassila and Morris insist Australia could become a powerhouse in aerial skiing if the training facilities were built, with a number of talented young skiers eager to compete.