Meet Lysanne Richard, completely fearless and one of the world’s best international competition high divers, who features in the film ‘Always Higher’ at the upcoming Radical Reels Tour – an offshoot of the prestigious Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival.
Birthplace: Chicoutimi, Quebec
Discipline: Cliff Diving
Lysanne Richard is one heck of an athlete, with multiple accolades under her belt including the 2016 FINA world cup. Despite a concussion, she won the gold medal and was later named high diver of the year. Additionally, her triumph at the 2018 FINA World Cup was even more of a victory, due to having a back injury almost all of 2017 as well navigating many personal challenges.
Overall, Richard has collected the second most podiums in the World Series in the Women’s division: 14, which includes three wins in just 22 starts. Despite being a mother of three and battling recurring injuries, Richard leads the statistics for the most second places (six) and in 2019, finished on the podium five out of six times- that’s impressive!
The Early Years
Richard is clearly a born natural high diver even though she refers to becoming one by ‘mistake’. When Lysanne was a child, her parents wanted to put her in swimming lessons, however the classes were full so they put her in the next best thing, diving!
From an early age, Lysanne developed a love for diving from enormous heights, which unbeknownst to her, would set the stage for future ventures.
Unfortunately, balance problems in Richard’s inner ears meant she had to move away from diving for a time from the age of 13. From 2004- 2014 Lysanne became an unparalleled acrobatic high diver for acclaimed Cirque Du Soleil which is where she became reintroduced to high diving.
Lysanne is now a regular at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series circuit which features half a dozen events taking place in picturesque locations around the world, and she happens to be the oldest diver in the permanent lineup.
Along with her career, the 39 year old raises her three children, is a sports ambassador and public speaker doing a lot of work with young people in schools.
Through being an ambassador of cliff diving in her home country, Richard is able to give back to helping build state-of-the-art high diving platforms in Montreal’s Olympic diving facilities. This involves a high diving tower in the outdoor swimming pool at Parc Jean-Drapeau, as well as a training Centre in the countryside with a 22m tower. Combined with the first high dive in her native region, these efforts share the same vision which is to make cliff diving more accessible and better known, while creating a safer training environment for all aspiring divers.
Always higher is Lysanne Richard’s latest venture, the documentary style film all about her 22-metre-high dive in the dead of winter over a frozen lake, a feat that has never been done. With a desire to constantly push the limits, Richard felt she needed something more in her life, to take her far outside her comfort zone.
Set at a former quarry site in the Thetford region of south-central Quebec, the dive required an entire team to construct the site and assist Richard. When the dive was made, there was a safety team in place in the water should anything have gone wrong, if she moved in the wrong direction while under the water. This is an extraordinary attempt to do something never before accomplished and under such extreme circumstances it’s a feat that will go down in history.
Interesting Facts About High Diving
- High diving involves dives from 27+ metres for men or 20+ metres for women.
- Divers must enter the water feet first in order to avoid injury to their head and neck.
- For a dive to count under international rules, divers must perform at least one complete vertical rotation, and must exit the water on their own.
- The history of high diving can be traced back to the 1770s when the king of Maui required his warriors to jump feet first from a great height to prove their courage and loyalty.
- High diving may be added to the 2024 Paris Olympics. (Currently the highest Olympic dives are from 10 metres.)
Lysanne Richard is only one of a group of highly experienced athletes doing incredible things. See it on the big screen at the Radical Reels Tour this October.
Designed to keep audiences on the edges of their seats, the films feature daring footage of some of the most accomplished climbers, slack liners, BASE jumpers, skiers and snowboarders alive today. Each action-packed short has been hand-picked from more than 300 entries to the most recent Banff Mountain Festival (the largest and most prestigious mountain-adventure, -culture and -exploration festival in the world). Get your tickets today www.radicalreels.com.au