Holy diver! Former Cirque du Soleil performer goes to great heights for thrills
Lysanne Richard goes to great heights to get her thrills.
That is, she has to climb several flights of stairs, then cross a catwalk built into the roof of the Olympic Stadium, up a ladder and then out onto a platform that’s 17 metres above a pool.
While that journey would make some weak in the knees, Richard doesn’t hesitate before she leaps.
“I’m scared every time, but at one point I learned to be scared and not make it change the way I dive,” she said.
The 17 metre platform is higher than the standard 10 metres of the Olympic platform and was specifically built for Richard, who cliff dives competitively.
“We’re the only one in America and everyone else in the world wants to come here to train,” she said.
While Richard hopes one day to compete in the Olympics, as it stands her sport isn’t a part of the lineup. But the training is similar – just higher, allowing her to reach speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour before hitting the water.
“It changes everything. Ten metres is high when we are up there but it’s so fast to enter the water. What I really enjoy is the airtime, the feeling of flying,” she said.
With that kind of speed comes a risk of injury and divers have to enter the water feet first to avoid catastrophe.
“People say they’re crazy, for sure,” said Richard’s coach Stephane Lapointe. “And they are, a bit. It’s risking your life for every single dive you do.”
Richard said her previous career as a Cirque du Soleil performer prepared her for the heights.
“I feel good here, I feel at home,” she said. “Now, I feel like slow motion in the air.”