Two-time world champion snowboarder Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin died in an unfortunate and tragic accident on Wednesday. The Olympian died while spearfishing in his native Australia. The untimely death of the 32-year-old snowboarder has sent the entire sporting world in shock given that he was also an expert at spearfishing.
Pullin's floating body was discovered by a snorkeler on Wednesday at an artificial reef off the coast of Australia. Although paramedics were immediately summoned they couldn't revive him. Pullin, was one of the most popular sports personalities in Australia and represented his country in three Olympics besides winning the World Cup and World Title.
A Tragic End
Pullin was spotted lying unconscious off a beach on Queensland's Gold Coast on Wednesday morning. Lifeguards were immediately called who brought him to shore, following which paramedics arrived. "The QAS received a phone call to support the lifeguards down here, where they were attempting to retrieve and resuscitate a 32-year-old male, who was found on the bottom of the ocean," said Justin Payne, a Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) officer in charge at Coolangatta.
According to the preliminary investigation, the police are of the opinion that Pullin appeared to have been diving alone and was without an oxygen mask. "He didn't have an oxygen mask, we understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef," the police said.
Sports Community Shocked
Snow Australia, the top body for snowboarding in the country, said it was "shocked" and saddened. "Alex was a beloved member of the Snow Australia community and he will be dearly missed," it said in a statement. Other athletes and sports personalities also paid tribute to Pullin.
Pullin had represented Australia in snowboard cross at Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. Although he got eliminated in the first round in the 2010 Olympics, he came back as a better performer in the next edition. In 2011, he won gold at the World Snowboarding Championship and a bronze in the 2017 edition. He also won the world title in 2013, besides winning the World Cup twice.
That said, Pullin was an expert at spearfishing and has often shared photos of himself spearfishing, swimming, and surfing on social media. Most of his friends from the sports fraternity knew about Chumpy's — a nickname earned during his upbringing in Mansfield, Victoria — passion for spearfishing. However, no one imagined that it would one day prove fatal for him.