Aussie Opals announce 2020 Senior National Squad
Just a year out from the Tokyo Olympics, Basketball Australia has announced the Australian 2020 Senior National Women’s Opals Squad.
The squad of 23 is full of depth and a strong breadth of talent, including veteran Opal stars, as well as welcoming some young fresh faces.
With an uncertainty still surrounding the FIBA Qualification window from 8 November to 16 November 2020, the Opals squad is required to be well prepared. The Opals will continue expectantly through to September, when Basketball Australia will be advised about the status of the qualification events by FIBA.
Australian Opals Head Coach Sandy Brondello is excited to extend the squad out to some of the younger talent who have shown extensive potential.
“From November 2020 to end of 2021, we will embark on an intensive schedule in preparation for the Olympics, followed by Asia Cup and Qualifiers. With that in mind, we decided to extend our squad to 23 players” Brondello said.
“While the core group has remained the same, we are excited to include some of our talented younger players (Shyla Heal, Jaz Shelley, Maddie Rocci and Tiana Mangakahia) who have shown much improvement over the past few years and deserve their selection in this squad.”
Whilst this is a squad of 23, it will remain fluid and can be reduced and or increased should an athlete deliver outstanding performances during their competitive season as the Opals work to build their strongest side for the upcoming Olympics in 2021.
“While the Olympics postponement was disappointing but necessary, we are excited as a group to get back together in November and start the process of building our chemistry to become the best team possible for Tokyo and beyond” said Brondello.
All Coaches will continue to monitor and assess the elite performances of Australian athletes in professional leagues such as the WNBL, the European Leagues, the WNBA and the Chinese Basketball Association.
The 2020 Australian Senior National Women’s Opals Squad:
|Rebecca Allen||Valencia, Spain / New York Liberty|
|Zitina Aokuso||JCU Townsville Fire|
|Sara Blicavs||Jayco Southside Flyers|
|Elizabeth Cambage||Las Vegas Aces|
|Rebecca Cole||Jayco Southside Flyers|
|Katie-Rae Ebzery||Perth Lynx|
|Darcee Garbin||Perth Lynx|
|Cayla George||Deakin Melbourne Boomers|
|Kelsey Griffin*||University of Canberra Capitals|
|Shyla Heal||JCU Townsville Fire|
|Tessa Lavey||Bendigo Spirit|
|Tess Madgen||Deakin Melbourne Boomers|
|Ezi Magbegor||Seattle Storm/Deakin Melbourne Boomers|
|Tiana Mangakahia||Syracuse University, USA|
|Leilani Mitchell*||Washington Mystics/ Jayco Southside Flyers|
|Lauren Nicholson||JCU Townsville Fire|
|Jenna O'Hea||Jayco Southside Flyers|
|Maddie Rocci||University of Canberra Capitals|
|Jaz Shelley||University of Oregon, USA|
|Alanna Smith||Phoenix Mercury/ Adelaide Lightning|
|Stephanie Talbot||Adelaide Lightning|
|Marianna Tolo||University of Canberra Capitals|
|Sami Whitcomb*||Perth Lynx|
*Restricted Player, only one can be named in a final term of 12.
Lydia Williams - Grassroots to Greatness
From playing football barefoot in the red dirt of the Western Australian outback to overcoming the heartbreak of losing her dad, Lydia Williams has come to be known as more than just Australia’s first-string goalkeeper.
Although her skills on the pitch are up there with the world’s best, it’s her humility, tenacity and resilience that have led to the reluctant role model becoming one of Australia’s greatest inspirations, for both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community alike.
Lydia Grace Yilkari Williams’ story began in the rural town of Katanning, Western Australia.
Her father, Ron, of the Noongar mob, was an Indigenous tribal elder and her mum, Diana, took a sabbatical from a demanding life working on Wall Street, to travel across the Gibson desert as a Christian missionary.
A five-month long romance ensued, with Diana eventually returning to the US, but the pair kept in contact via letters, which is how Ron proposed.
Diana returned to Australia to marry Ron. They spent their honeymoon in a cave and shortly after, Lydia was born.
The family lived in Katanning while she was a toddler, before moving 700 km to Kalgoorlie.
The formative years of Williams’ life were spent in Kalgoorlie but involved a lot of travelling.
She spent her days going to school, hunting and learning how to live off the land, but was also home-schooled by her mum in the back of a converted four-wheel drive and camper trailer.
Her mum and dad continued to travel together as missionaries to the remote towns of the Gibson desert, helping the communities recover from poverty, domestic violence and culture of heavy drinking.
“Once a year, we’d pack up our four-wheel drive and camper trailer and go out bush,” Williams explained.
“Dad ripped up the whole inside of the four-wheel drive and put in a bed and a giant drum of fresh water along with all of our cooking and swag stuff. It was really homely.”
“Mum would collect homework from my school, and in the mornings, we’d do schoolwork together in the back, then once we got to camp or to a community, we’d put out the swag and set up."
Williams spent her childhood as a free spirit, setting up camp wherever the missions took her and making friends along the way.
“We’d bring my dog along and I’d play with the other kids in the community. We’d ride bikes, go yabbying and run around the desert barefoot playing AFL.
“I always felt safe growing up as a kid in the bush, it was home” she recalled.
Williams would spend her days exploring and connecting with the land and in the evening, would go hunting with her dad.
During one of their hunts, the pair came across an orphaned kangaroo joey and rock wallaby, and being a lover of animals, the then four-year-old adopted the two marsupials who she named Chambi and Rocky.
“Both of their mothers were hit by cars,” Williams explained.
“We checked the pouches for joeys, which they had, so we brought them home to take care of them.
“One of the things I was encouraged to do from a young age was learn a bit of responsibility, so it became my job to feed them and take care of them. I even made them pouches for them out of pillowcases.”
Williams’ chance encounter with Chambi and Rocky set the tone for the rest of her childhood, which plays out in her children’s book,
“Being on my own, I always had to make my own fun,” she shared.
“I didn't really have many friends because I was always traveling, so the animals became my friends.
“I felt really connected to them because they also represented freedom and being one with the land.”
She recalled telling her mum that one day she wanted to become a “doggy doctor,” something which she achieved, in a roundabout way, as she is not only a professional sportswoman, but a qualified zookeeper.
When she was 11, Williams’ family moved from Western Australia to Canberra after her mum got a new job. The move to a big city was a massive adjustment for the shy youngster.
“Not knowing anything and not having friends was really hard and scary,” she said.
“I spoke in an Aboriginal dialect when I was in Kalgoorlie and obviously in Canberra there wasn't really any sort of place for me to do that… and I had to wear shoes,” she laughed.
There was no option to play AFL in Canberra, so instead, Williams took up football. She joined the Tuggeranong Rosellas where goalkeeper was the only position left.
She figured her AFL skills would transfer well to the role, but the competitiveness of the game was something she hadn't experienced before.
“I started playing football in Canberra, but everything was a little bit more competitive, you weren’t just playing for fun like you did back home," she said.
“You had to join a team and get a name for yourself, there was a lot of extra pressure."
But the challenge didn’t deter her. Williams took to the position quite naturally and it wasn’t long before her talent became evident.
She found herself a goalkeeper coach at 13 and started playing in the ACT development team, then at 15 was picked up by National Goalkeeping Coach, Paul Jones.
She was selected for the Young Matildas where she played for four years before making her senior National Team debut at 17.
Her rise to the top may have come as a surprise to the youngster who found herself in goal by chance, but not to her dad.
He would tell anyone and everyone how proud he was of his daughter, until he tragically passed away from cancer before he was able to see Williams make her Matildas debut.
This is my dad. He was born in Albany, Western Australia. Our mob is Noongar. He was raised by his grandparents and many of his family members became part of the stolen generation. When the police came into town my great granpop would hide him so he wouldn’t be taken. ••• ••• My dad passed away when I was 15, he would’ve turned 80 this week. Maybe it’s because of the grief of losing a parent or the way in which they pass, that you only remember the good times and replay the moments of joy. But with what is happening in the world I now remember the times in which there was sadness too. Like when we would walk streets together and racist words were thrown at him by passers by. Or when he had to explain to me about why he would get short changed at shops. Or when the comment “that’s your dad?” would be said to me when he would pick me up. ••• ••• I’m only speaking from my experiences in my family. This time of isolation has allowed me to reconnect to my culture, learn and ask more questions about dad. So to all those deadly mob please keep educating me and increasing my knowledge also🖤💛❤️ ••• Happy Birthday dad
“Whenever he would watch Cathy Freeman or other sporting heroes, dad always said that one day I'd represent Australia.
“At the time, he didn't know when or where or what sport, but he just had this belief in me and I’ve actually only been hearing about it over the last couple of years,” she shared.
“He would never say it to me directly, because he knew I would get embarrassed, but more recently people have been telling me how proud he was of me.
“Without him and my mum, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m so grateful for having such supportive parents because that is what allowed me to achieve things that I never thought I could.”
Ron’s passing was exceptionally hard on Williams who had always looked up to her dad for his big heart, character and outlook on the world.
As part of the stolen generation, Ron dealt with much adversity and even spent part of his life living in a rubbish dump, but despite what he went through, Williams said Ron’s love for people was unfaltering.
Even though the now 32-year-old has played at four World Cups and an Olympic Games, her core remains a true reflection of her upbringing and a glowing representation of her dad’s legacy.
“Dad just loved everyone,” she shared.
“He didn't care what their background or the colour of their skin was, and he didn't care how he was treated. He loved learning about people and encouraging them in some way. That’s just who he was.”
“I remember my mum would always get so angry at him for giving people money when he was meant to buy us dinner or something equally important,” Williams recalled.
“Dad would always say ‘Oh, they needed it more than we do.’ He just had a real generosity about him and that's the one thing I try and take away from what he instilled in me.”
Williams says the lessons her dad taught her play out both on and off the pitch, but they aren’t just relevant to those around her. She says it’s just as important to offer yourself the same generosity.
“Being generous allows room for mistakes and it also means being generous with yourself,” she said.
“You can hold yourself to a high standard but if you make a mistake, it's being generous enough to know that everyone's human. We're all trying, and you can allow yourself to feel or be vulnerable.
“I think that's probably been the biggest thing I've had to learn - that being generous is also being vulnerable in those moments when things go wrong. It’s about knowing that it’s okay and it happens.”
Apart from her parents, Williams says the most influential person of her career has been former Matildas Head Coach, Tom Sermanni.
“Tom was the one who kind of ‘found me’,” she said.
“I was out training at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and he brought me to my first camp. He’s seen me grow and develop over the years and taught me so much.”
Sermanni recounted his first memories of a young Williams, and apart from being gobsmacked by her remarkably long arms, it was her steely concentration and humility that stood out to him.
“My first memory of Lydia would be when I came back into the Matildas’ job at the end of 2004,” Sermanni said.
“Lydia would’ve only been about 16 or 17 but what first stood out to me was that she had these arms that seemed to go on forever.
“She’s not the tallest keeper in the world, so at the time you thought she would miss those balls that got knocked up high, but suddenly these extended arms would come out and catch them.
“She came into the high-performance environment very low-key, she was quiet, but she was sneaky quiet, with a great sense of humour,” he continued.
“What else stood out was that even as a teenager, Lydia never got flustered. If I think back over the eight years that I coached her, I can never remember her getting upset with me, her teammates or herself.
“She always had this calm demeanour that carried out into goal, whether she was playing in a World Cup or five-a-side training, it was always about focusing on the game. It’s a calmness, but one that’s got some steel and concentration about it.
Sermanni said that Williams is one of the most well-liked players he has coached, which he credits to her upbringing.
“Even as a youngster, Lydia was always humble, and she still is now.
“I don’t think you’d be able to go into any team, squad or group of players she has played with and have them say anything negative about her, which I believe has a lot to do with her upbringing.”
Although he no longer coaches Williams, the New Zealand Ferns Head Coach is proud of the wonderful woman the ‘gangly girl’ from the outback has become.
Seeing how Williams dealt with the loss of her father, her transition from barefoot AFL to Australia’s first-string goalkeeper and the way she bounced back from some career-threatening injuries has been inspirational for the coaching veteran to witness.
“I'm just really proud of how she's turned out,” Sermanni shared.
“Lydia has had a really difficult past, losing her dad at a young age and then transitioning from that background and coming into a high-performance environment the way she has, has been inspiring to watch.”
“Her mum has been such a great support and I think Lydia draws strength and character from her.
“You hear all these clichés in the sport like, if you're a nice person, you can't be successful, but Lydia is proof that’s not true.
“She brings all those qualities, humility, kindness, hard work and resilience and has still had so much deserved success.
“I've been lucky enough to see her grow and develop into a young woman who cares and is passionate about people and causes.
“I’m proud of the fantastic things this gangly teenager from the outback has accomplished.”
Australia's oldest Olympian Frank Prihoda honoured with ski slope for his 99th birthday
Alpine skier Frank Prihoda is Australia’s oldest living Olympian and celebrated his 99th birthday yesterday, where his contribution to winter sport was recognised by the Olympic and snow community.
Frank began skiing as an eight-year-old, alongside his sister, Sasha Nekvapil, a Czech ski champion who competed at the 1948 Winter Games in St Moritz, Switzerland.
Initially, he wasn’t as taken by the sport as his older sibling, but his competitive instinct was later epitomised when he literally clawed himself through the gates to complete the Slalom on his Olympic debut.
“It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I began to take the sport seriously,” Frank said.
“My cousin and I went on a ski camp in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, and afterwards joined our older sisters who were at the forefront of women’s skiing in Czechoslovakia.
“Even though we were still young, we would ski with the older elite skiers.
“I remember they were very proud and professional, training regularly and eventually took on the role of teaching and instructing us.
“They taught us all there was to know about skiing, from nordic to downhill, but slalom, which I competed in at the Olympic Games, was seen as more of a novelty until around 1936.”
Frank grew up during World War II, which forced him to grow up quickly. He became a business owner while still a teenager, due to the loss of his father and the poor health of his mother.
“My father died when I was 17 and by the time I was 19, I had to take over the family business,” Frank explained.
“My mother, who was the boss after my father passed away, had a stroke due to the stress of the war, so I became the head of the business.
“Consequently, I didn’t have as much time to train or ski, but I did as much as I could.”
In 1948, the Communist Putsch came into power. They were a strict socialist government and under the regime, Frank’s business was seized and his future was dim.
He decided to flee the country in January 1949 with his brother- in -law, Karel, crossing illegally into Austria where they met up with Sasha, who had just competed at the St Moritz 1948 Games and managed to escape returning home with the team.
The trio found home in Australia, landing in Melbourne on 9 March 1950. Frank took a job in Mt Buller, Victoria where he would operate ski lifts and ski on the weekends.
Frank’s prowess on the slopes was noticed immediately, with Australia fast-tracking Frank’s naturalisation so he could compete for his adopted country at the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Games in Italy.
“The nomination had to be made six months ahead of the Games and by that time, I didn’t have the papers at that point, as you’d needed to be in the country for five years before you could be naturalised,” the Thredbo resident explained.
“By special act of parliament, they made an exception for me and I was absolved of that condition and naturalised earlier so I could compete.”
After all the legalities had been finalised, Frank was officially selected and sent to the US, Canada and Europe to train in December 1956. He arrived in Cortina, Italy, on 22 January 1956, four days out from the Opening Ceremony.
At 35 years-old, Frank competed in the Giant Slalom and Slalom where he placed 80th and 54th respectively.
“With hindsight, I refer to the Olympic Games as hard work and it was made harder due to the conditions,” he said of his Olympic experience.
“There was very little snow so the terrain was very uneven, you would feel every bump and the rocks were very thinly covered which made it quite difficult.
“That was one of the reasons why we were absolved from taking part in the downhill.
“In the Giant Slalom I was quite nervous and got into the first gate, then had a fall,” Frank continued.
“I did better in the Slalom, but I remember there wasn’t much snow and I thought to myself, ‘how are they going to run Slalom on this?’
“There were no snow-makers back then, so they called the Fire Brigade who sprayed the whole slope with water which just created a huge, continuous ice rink down the slope.
“As a result, most of the skiers missed the gates because they slid out and couldn’t correct their course,” he explained.
“I was observing others while waiting for my turn and figured out which was the most dangerous gate, so I knew I had to take that one carefully.
“I did my best, but lo and behold, I started sliding out as well, and in those days, the poles were not like they are today, they were tree saplings firmly embedded into the ground, so I grabbed the inside pole and managed to get through the gate.
“People were laughing, but it was legal, and I had a reasonable result coming 54th, but I was the only one out of our team to finish that race.”
Frank said that although he didn’t finish where he would have liked, representing his adopted country filled him with pride.
“It was a big thing, it meant a lot to me,” he shared.
“I was very proud and humbled that after just five years, I was able to walk under the flag, representing Australia.
“Because of that, all I wanted was to do my best for my adoptive country.”
After Frank competed at the 1956 Games, he relocated to Thredbo and out of his 72 years living in Australia, has spent the last 48 there.
He worked as a ski instructor and also ran a souvenir shop up until he retired at the age of 80.
Incredibly, Frank was still skiing into his 90’s.
Frank says the secret to a long and healthy life is to live it quietly and stay close to nature.
“I think to a great degree, it’s Thredbo,” he said when asked what keeps him young.
“It’s a healthy place with clean living, you’re exposed to nature and all the elements. You have the option to live your life more quietly than you would in the city.
“You can still work hard but regulate your life and mental health better than you would working a high-pressure job.”
On Wednesday 8 July 2020, the day of his 99th birthday,
Fellow Winter Olympian Jono Brauer, presented the letter while Stuart Diver, Operations Manager of Thredbo Ski Resort and sole survivor of the 1997 Thredbo landslide also announced that a ski slope would be named after Frank, called 'Frank's Face.'
Relive the magic of Sydney 2000 as one-year countdown to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 begins
Landmark Olympic Games specials on Channel 7: 9.15pm, 29 July & 5 August
To celebrate the One Year to Go milestone to the rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, Seven will broadcast two landmark Olympic Games specials that revisit all the magic moments of the Greatest Games Ever, Sydney 2000.
The Opening Ceremony in Sydney was the show that stopped a nation, with more than 10 million metropolitan viewers tuning in on Seven. On Wednesday, 29 July – just days after the one-year countdown to the Games – Australians can rediscover all the unforgettable moments and, for the first time, hear the inside secrets behind the night’s spectacular successes and near-disasters.
This once-in-a-lifetime special event, The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 Uncovered, features newly filmed interviews with the people who made that landmark night so special, including:
- Headline acts Vanessa Amorosi, James Morrison, Human Nature, Adam Garcia, Djakapurra Munyarryun and Nikki Webster, whose spectacular performance at just 13 years of age wowed the world
- The creative geniuses behind the Ceremony and two of the world’s greatest show producers, David Atkins and Ric Birch and their contemporaries, the brilliant Dein Perry, Rhoda Roberts, Meryl Tankard, Lex Marinos and Chong Lim.
- Stunning performances from John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John, Tina Arena and Julie Anthony
- Australian Olympic Flag bearer Andrew Gazeand the hometown hero who stole the whole show,Catherine Freeman
- AND, just as importantly, the impressionable youngsters whose Olympic dream was born on that inspirational night: Tokyo 2020 medal contenders Cate Campbell,Bronte Campbell,Jess Fox,Mack Horton,Emma McKeonandEllia Green
Then on Wednesday, 5 August, Seven will take fans back to the extraordinary two weeks of competition that followed in Sydney with a two-hour special on the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 Moments that Moved Us.
Hosted by Sunrise’s Mark Beretta, Seven’s Olympic Games experts led by Bruce McAvaney, Johanna Griggs, Mark Beretta, Dennis Cometti, Pat Welsh, Lord Sebastian Coe, Tamsyn Manou and Raelene Boyle have revisited Sydney 2000 and caught up with some of the athletes whose deeds captivated the nation. They include:
- Swimming stars Ian Thorpe,Susie O’Neill,Grant Hackett,Kieren Perkins,Michael Klim,Bill KirbyandTodd Pearson
- Gold medalists Andrew Hoy(equestrian),Lauren Burns(taekwondo),Rechelle Hawkes(hockey),Yvette Higgins(water polo),Kerri PottharstandNatalie Cook(beach volleyball), andBelinda Stowell(sailing, 470 Class)
- Silver medalists and fan favourites Tatiana Grigorieva(pole vault) andJi Wallace(trampoline gymnastics)
- International track and field Superstars Maurice Greene, Ato Boldon and Michael Johnson
And who could forget the laughs Roy and HG delivered each night in Sydney with their unique take on the day’s events on The Dream?
You’ll hear stories that have never been told, see teammates reunited, and laugh and cry at moments that have become part of our national sporting fabric.
And our Sydney heroes have some advice for those heading to Tokyo on how to make their dreams come true.
Head of Olympics and Commonwealth Games Seven West Media Andy Kay commented:
“As one of only five countries that have competed at every Olympiad since 1896, the Olympic Games is deeply etched into Australia’s sporting DNA. That was never more evident than in Sydney 2000. For those who were there and the many more who watched on Seven, the memories of Australia’s greatest ever sporting moment will always remain.
"And with Tokyo 2020 now just one year away, what better time to relive the magic of Sydney – and to look forward to the next exciting chapter in our rich Olympic history.”
Chief Revenue Officer and Director of Olympics Kurt Burnette added:
“These moments are etched into Australian minds forever. We’ve seen research prove nostalgia has played a big role in the Australian psyche through COVID-19 and lockdown. We will use these great moments of the past to remind Australia of the good times, the pride and inspiration all of which can come again. Those elements have never been more relevant, to importantly then propel and project forward to Tokyo.
"To create anticipation and a sense of pride of what is to come. Culminating in a celebration on air across Sunrise, 7NEWS, The Morning Show and our AFL coverage – with more celebration to come in September for the 20-year anniversary of Sydney 2000.”
The only place to watch Tokyo 2020 is the Home of the Olympics on Seven.
Olympic family share their sorrow after the loss of Alex "Chumpy" Pullin
The tragic news of Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin's untimely passing yesterday left the Olympic community reeling.
The outpouring of grief and heartfelt tributes from athletes across the sporting world, teammates, fans and young riders he has inspired were a reminder of just what an impact 'Chumpy' had throughout his lifetime.
Australian Olympics Team’s Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman pays tribute to snowboarding champion Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin: “That combination of passion and charisma really meant that he brought people together with him.” https://t.co/tXOupAjqwN #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/GaD4kLaSpG— 7NEWS Australia (@7NewsAustralia) July 9, 2020
Chumpy it was an honour to have known u and to call you a friend. Your energy was infectious & I’ll remember u as one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. Finding old photos of us riding around the Olympic village in Sochi just before the closing ceremony #alexpullin #Chumpy ❤️ pic.twitter.com/gql3p4fnCn— Emily Bamford (@embamford) July 9, 2020
I’m deeply saddened and shocked by the loss of Chumpy, he was a great athlete and ambassador for our sport in Australia and around the world. He accomplished great things on the board but more than that he was a good person who loved life and took on every challenge with energy and passion. I’ll never forget the early days on the hill together, chasing our dreams when we were far from home and our families aspiring to ride for Australia one day. My love and thoughts are with his family and girlfriend Ellidy. He will be greatly missed. Rest in peace mate 💔
Not really sure where to start, Chumpy was the whole reason I started snowboarding competivley, the first photo was the first time I met Chumpy, I was so stoked when I met him I was all shaky and nervous and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for days. I went home that night and made this photo my screensaver on my phone for weeks. Chumpy has been my biggest idol since the start, that was a question I’d always get asked when I was growing up was who is your idol and it was always Chumpy, he always had time to say Hi and have a chat but with the flip of a switch he managed to turn into such a fierce and competitive rider and I was always and still am in ore of that. I feel extremely greatful to have gone from that giddy kid lining up to get a photo and a signature with him to have been able to walk along side him at the Olympics. Chumpy truely is one of the kindest and warmest people I’ve ever known and I feel incredible privileged to have known him. He has left an incredible legacy and I know he will continue to inspire me and many other people. Rest In Peace legend. I hope the pow is deep and the runs are perfect cord up there. I hope to shred with you again one day. Thank you for everything ❤️
Shocked and devastated to hear the news of Chumpy's passing. He was a true champion, a leader and a great mate who pushed us all to be better. There will forever be a hole in the winter sport community now. My thoughts are with the Pullin family and all close to him. Rest in peace buddy. ❤❤
I have no words to express the sorrow and shock of you gone too soon 💔The world has lost a special soul today. Chumpy, your love for life, your beautiful heart, your talent in everything you did will never be forgotten. 🏂🎶 🏄🏾♂️🌊🥇 Love you man, we will miss you... rest easy xx Sending love and strength to the Pullin family and @ellidy_ ❤️
I am shocked and deeply saddened that you’re gone. I’m really lost for words... It’s shaken many people here and around the world. All I can think about is the legacy you’ve left behind. We have had a lot of time together, many memories, with my favourite being at the end of the 2016 World Cup. I vividly remember that season with you and how it was a tough one for both of us. But, we topped it off by winning the last World Cup together. We won double gold for Australia! It was a first for Australia in snowboard cross and it was the first World Cup win for me. I remember crossing the finish line and collapsing to my knees with tears of joy and then went to the side lines to watch you race. I screamed, yelled and cheered as you raced all the way down until you crossed that line. We both threw our hands up at the same time and roared in triumph. I broke through the finishing area barriers and rushed over to hug you. I was so so happy for you. I remember looking at you and we both teared up as we realised what had happened. It was a moment I’ve always and always will cherish. You’re a good man, athlete and role model. Always living life to its fullest, full of energy and always up for the challenge when it presents itself. Chumpy, Thankyou for your passion, drive and energy. Thankyou for the legacy you have left behind. Thankyou for what you have done for snowboarding especially in Australia. Without you, it wouldn’t be the same. Ride on Chumpy, Belle❤️
I’m pretty shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin. He was a hell of a snowboarder, pioneer of the SBX community and world, and from the first time I met him at the Aus Futures camp in Hotham to traveling around the world, living together on the road and competing in World Cup races together, Chumpy was always willing to help me out with advice and some of his good old words of wisdom. He always had a passion for the next generation of snowboarders in the sport and without a doubt he had a hand in getting me to where I am today. Thank you Chumpy for mentoring me though the years, being a good friend, always down for a laugh and an awesome, passionate person to be on the team with. I have always looked up to you, snowboarding in Australia and the world will not be the same without you. My thoughts go out to his family and close friends. Rest In Peace legend ❤️
Extremely shocked and saddened to hear the news of Chumpy’s passing. Chumpy was a huge part of the Australian Winter team, he was a phenomenal athlete and an even better role model for all up and comers. He truly paved the way for other snowboarders in Australia and will leave behind an incredible legacy. RIP Chumpy. It was an honour to be teammates and have raced alongside you. Sending my condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.
The Snow Australia community is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of triple Olympian, Alex Pullin, who today lost his life while spear fishing on the Gold Coast this morning. Our deepest condolences are with Alex’s family, as well as his team mates and support staff. Alex was a beloved member of the Snow Australia community and he will be dearly missed.
Today we are mourning the sudden and tragic loss of Alex “Chumpy” Pullin while spearfishing off the Gold Coast in Australia. Along with our partners at The Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), we recognize and honour Alex’s life and contribution to sport. As a two-time World Champion and three-time Olympian, Alex attended Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014), and PyeongChang (2018) representing Australia in snowboard cross. Alex exemplified everything good about sport: passion, commitment, discipline, and comradery that made him a true icon. Alex was known for being a generous teammate and engaged mentor to many young athletes. Offering his deepest sympathies on Alex’s passing, Peter Schure, Vice President of Teams And Sponsorships, shares that, “Chumpy was a true ambassador of sport. He exemplified all that is good and we celebrate his passion, his career, and his life. His passing truly leaves a big hole in our hearts”. As the apparel sponsor to the OWIA and AOC since 2003, we at Karbon offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and teammates. Alex will be sorely missed. To honour Alex’s commitment to sport in Australia and his enduring legacy in snowboarding around the world, we are renaming our custom Australian team competition jacket, “The Chumpy”. During the World Cup season and at the upcoming Beijing Olympics in 2022, athletes wearing their team jackets will keep Alex’s memory alive from the opening ceremony to the final moments of the games. Ride on, Chumpy.
Farewell Chumpy ✨❤️ so sad and shocked to learn the world has lost such a bright, genuine and kind soul. You brought the beat, the energy, the laughs and the competitiveness wherever you went and inspired so many along the way. I learned a lot from you and appreciated the chats, the shoots, the events, the coffee catch ups, the training sessions with Nam & the @redbullau family, and that first wings for life world run where i found you at the 10km mark just chilling and waiting for the car to catch you! Glad I forced you to keep running those last few Ks with me, it was good fun. We will miss you 💔🌟 my deepest condolences to the Pullin family, friends and Alex’s partner, Ellidy. 📷 @andygreenimages
I have no words right now. @alexchumpypullin you were such a massive part of my childhood and you will always be an irreplaceable icon in my life. I cannot thank you enough for all the time you spent with me mentoring and teaching me. I will forever remember and cherish all the times talking about snowboarding, skating, music and you playing your guitar. All your advice you gave me for snowboarding which has also been transferred into my skating will never leave me. You and your family were such a massive light during my childhood and if it wasn’t for you guys I would’nt be where I am today. I’m going to cherish the board you signed for me and the ukulele you gave me. Snowboarding lost a true legend today. Fly high beautiful angel forever in our hearts 🤍🌹
@alexchumpypullin was full of life! Always smiling and full of energy. He accomplished so much in his sport but the work that he put in and the dedication to his craft was second to none. I’ve never seen someone work as hard as Chumpy. In saying that his humbleness and joy for life was inspiring. Am honoured to have known him. Sending love to his family and his beautiful girlfriend @ellidy_ Where ever you are mate I know you’re making it better place. Much love 🙏🏼❤️
Rest in Peace, Chumpy.