MANSFIELD’S Olympic and World Champion snowboarder Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin has died as a result of diving accident on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
He was diving alone when he was found unconscious on the sea floor without an oxygen mask. All efforts by paramedics and two nurses failed to save him.
The 32-year-old experienced free diver is believed to have drowned while spearfishing at an artificial reef.Born in Mansfield ‘Chumpy’ as he was known to all in his home town, was the first Australian snowboarder to win back-to-back World Cups in snowboarding.
He also led the Olympic team as flag bearer at the Sochi Russian winter Olympic Games in 2014.After winning his first World Cup in 2010 he was given the ‘keys to the city’ in a civil ceremony in the centre of Mansfield with hundreds welcoming Chumpy home, including his proud grandfather Bob Pullin.
Chumpy Pullin became the first Australian winter sport athlete to win consecutive World Championships when he secured a second snowboard cross title in Stoneham, Canada.
In winning back-to-back World Championships, the Mt Buller skier and Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder outclassed the world’s best, which included a dual Olympic gold medallist and a former two-time World Champion, with a flawless performance.
He was named Ski and Snowboard Australia-Suzuki Snowsports Athlete of the Year for the second year running in 2013.Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) rider, Chumpy, was presented with the highest annual award contested by home grown athletes, at a gala function attended by leading wintersport administrators, personalities, sponsors and athletes from all ski and snowboard fraternities.A full story on Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin’s career will be published in the Courier on July 15.