World Champion Snowboarder Drowns

Alex Pullin had been spearfishing off Gold Coast
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2020 12:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – Australia is mourning one of its greatest-ever winter athletes. Alex "Chumpy" Pullin drowned Wednesday while spearfishing on an artificial reef off Queensland's Gold Coast, the BBC reports. The 32-year-old, a two-time world snowboarding champion, was Australia's flag-bearer at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He was spotted unconscious underwater by a snorkeler and brought to shore, but paramedics were unable to revive him.

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A police spokesman says Pullin had been diving alone. "He didn't have an oxygen mask, we understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef," the officer says. "It is an incredibly sad day," Geoff Lipshut, the chief executive of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, tells Reuters. Lipshut says Pullin retired from the sport last month but hadn't gone public with the news. (Read more Australia stories.)

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