Snowboard world champion, Olympian Alex Pullin dies in spearfishing accident in Australia

Jason Owens
·2 min read
Alex Pullin died in a spearfishing accident at 32 years old. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Alex Pullin was the flag bearer for Australia at the 2014 Sochi Games. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Two-time snowboarding world champion Alex Pullin drowned on Wednesday while spearfishing off the Gold Coast of Australia.

Pullin was 32 years old. Rescue workers pulled his body from the water with a jet ski around 10:40 a.m. local time after another fisherman spotted him, Yahoo Sports Australia reports. Police told reporters he was unresponsive when removed from the water. Paramedics performed CPR to no avail.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor and raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in,” police said. “He didn’t have an oxygen mask. We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef.”

Pullin’s snowboarding legacy

Pullin, nicknamed “‘Chumpy,” won gold medals in snowboard cross at the 2011 La Molina and 2013 Stoneham world championships. He was Australia’s flag bearer for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. He also competed in the 2010 and 2018 Olympics and won a silver medal at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

“An incredible athlete, beloved teammate and role model, you will be sorely missed,” a statement from the Australian Olympic Team reads.

Yahoo Sports Australia reports that Pullin’s girlfriend Ellidy Vlug and her mother arrived at the scene after seeing the commotion on the beach.

His fellow Olympian Steven Bradbury mourned Pullin in a statement provided to news website InQueensland.

“The world will miss such a talented human and a double world champion without ego and without selfishness who is everyone’s best mate — which isn’t always the case with elite athletes,” said Bradbury, a 2002 Olympic gold medalist in short-track speed skating.

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