Bobsledder Alysia Rissling dishes on her work ethic, her love of pizza, her style inspiration and her definition of success. With the help of Joe Fresh, she stands out in stylish, versatile threads that take her seamlessly from work to play.
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I push and drive a bobsleigh down icy tracks at speeds over 145 km/hr. With the support of my sponsors, I get to travel the world and compete for Team Canada at the World Cup.
What was the inspiration for your career?
I got into bobsleigh sport with one goal: to represent Team Canada at the Olympic Games. I’ve been a multi-sport athlete my entire life; it has paid for my education, taught me so many valuable life lessons, and shaped who I am as a person today. But starting bobsleigh at the age of 23 has actually taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined.
Being an amateur athlete has inspired me to turn my career into a business venture, and it has been an amazing asset learning how to run my own business in terms of finding sponsorship for my team. It has also led me to develop a passion for advocating for women’s equality in sport, and inspiring the next generation of girls to get and stay involved in athletics.
Where do you see yourself in five years, 10 years and 20 years?
In five years I will be preparing for what should be my second Olympic season, which will hopefully be a history-making one because it will be the first year women will be allowed to compete in both the two-man and four-man disciplines, having a shot to win two medals.
In 10 years, I will hopefully have graduated from a chiropractic school and be practising with a focus on the athlete population. In 20 years, I will have my own wellness clinic that takes a holistic approach to total health and fitness. And I will have at least two dogs!
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
If you can’t sell someone on your product, then sell them on your passion. You may hear the word “no” 100 times, but you won’t ever get a “yes” unless you ask and are willing to prove your worth. People who are persistent are hard to ignore.
What does the word “notable” mean to you?
The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “notable” is something that stands out. It is what catches your eye amongst the ordinary.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Whenever I am in Calgary I crave UNA pizza+wine. The pizza is always incredible, the appetizers and salads are delicious, and they always have the perfect wine pairing for whatever the special of the day is. I also love the atmosphere of the little restaurant.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is sporty and casual, but if I get the chance I adore dressing up for big events. I am in athletic tights with a razorback tank top and half zip pull over 90 per cent of the time, but if I am not working out, I am in jeggings and a T-shirt or a crew neck sweater. In the summer my favourite thing to throw on is a long dress with a jean jacket.
What do you love about the outfit you are wearing in your photo?
I love the bold contrast of the pattern of the plaid shirt. It’s black and white but still makes a statement. My favourite part of the sweater is the versatility, and, of course, how comfy it is.
What are some of your current fashion obsessions?
This winter, my fashion obsession has been long knitted sweaters that are open at the front. They look great because you can layer them over a blouse and jeans or even over a workout tank and tights and you still look semi put-together. I’ve also been loving the style of fitted sweaters that are cut shorter in the front.
Where does your fashion inspiration come from?
My fashion inspiration is ‘look good, feel good, race good.’ I love to keep up the latest fashion trends, but unfortunately I spend six months of the year living out of a suitcase in primarily spandex clothes. I do my best to make sure that, instead of ragged old sweats, I am in the freshest threads, and anyone who knows me knows that usually involves florescent colours. My biggest fashion inspiration is Kate Hudson: her outfits are always on point regardless of if she is wearing couture on a red carpet or leaving a pilates studio.
When you can’t think of anything to wear, what’s your go-to outfit?
A silk blouse, black jeggings and ankle boots.
And, finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play or otherwise…
To me, success is more about the process. It isn’t our accomplishments that define us, but rather the steps we take along the way that shapes who we are. What is the point of having a goal if you aren’t willing to handle adversity along the way and enjoy the journey? To me, a successful person is someone who has figured out how to make their passion the centre of both their work and play.