Alysia Rissling

(Olympic Bobsleigh Pilot)

An athlete her entire life, Alysia Rissling accepted a dual scholarship to the University of Alberta for basketball and track and field. Realizing she couldn’t logistically do both, she chose to focus on basketball and over five seasons with the Pandas won a national silver and a national bronze medal. After graduation, she knew that she was done with basketball but, inspired by the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, felt she still had an Olympic dream she wanted to pursue.

Having heard that bobsleigh recruited athletes who were fast and powerful like herself, she reached out to the provincial coordinator in Alberta and two weeks later attended a talent identification camp. Within two months she was a brakeman for Team Alberta and dropped everything in her life to move to Calgary. There she attended pilot school and moved into the front seat of the sled in just her second competitive season on the provincial team.

The following season in 2014-15 she was named to the national development team and was the overall champion of the North American Cup circuit. After finishing second overall in the 2015-16 North American Cup standings, Rissling moved to the World Cup circuit fulltime in 2016-17. With brakeman Melissa Lotholz she finished fourth at the first race of the season in Whistler. She capped the season with her first World Cup medal, winning bronze at the PyeongChang 2018 test event of the Olympic Sliding Centre with brakeman Cynthia Appiah.

In 2017-18, Rissling placed in the top-10 in six of eight World Cup races, highlighted by a fourth-place finish in St. Moritz with brakeman Heather Moyse. They went on to finish sixth at PyeongChang 2018 in Rissling’s Olympic debut.

Rissling made history in February 2015 during a North American Cup race in Park City, Utah when she became the first ever pilot of an all-female four-man sled in an internationally sanctioned race. Rissling competed at the IBSF World Championships in 2016 and 2017, finishing sixth at the latter with Appiah.