News

Chumpy wins Athlete of the Year

3 May 2013

SOCHI: Snowboard cross dual World Champion Alex “Chumpy” Pullin added another prestigious accolade to a growing list of career achievements when he was named the Ski and Snowboard Australia Snowsports Athlete of the Year in Melbourne last night.

The 25-year-old Australian Institute of Sport rider 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.

It is the second time in three years that Pullin has won the coveted award.

Pullin was one of seven finalists considered for the award, who came from a group of 14 athletes that won 24 World Cup or World Championship medals in a record northern hemisphere for Australia.

Other finalists were Anton Grimus (ski cross), David Morris (aerial skiing), Britteny Cox (moguls skiing), Russ Henshaw (slopestyle skiing), Holly Crawford (snowboard halfpipe) and Torah Bright (snowboard slopestyle).

Pullin became the first Australian wintersport athlete to successfully defend a World Championship crown last January, and he also secured the World Cup Crystal Globe trophy last month, the highest honour in World Cup competition.

He ended the season as the world number one ranked snowboard cross rider, appearing in the finals of every World Cup event he contested this season and winning three World Cup gold medals, Pullin was predictably a hot favourite to win the award.

Pullin said that he was particularly proud to have won the award, given the current depth of talent among Australian wintersport athletes, which includes three other athletes – Holly Crawford, Nate Johnstone and Anna Segal - who each won World Championship titles in 2011, and reigning Olympic champions Lydia Lassila and Torah Bright.

“This is fantastic,” Pullin said.

“It’s really nice to share the occasion with all the people who put in towards these programs and make it all possible for me as an athlete. It’s really cool to get home and share that with them.

“It means a lot to receive this award here in my own country after being up in the northern hemisphere winter and especially in a year when Australia has been so successful, our most successful World Cup season.

“Winning this award is another one of my achievements, which I am extremely proud of.

“In the time leading up to Sochi, I’m really happy that this is where I am. Looking forward, it is all very positive.”

SSA CEO Michael Kennedy said that although the 2012 / 2013 northern hemisphere season produced the highest ever number of World Championship and World Cup medals in 43 years of Australian participation, with glittering results achieved by a number of athletes, Pullin’s season was a stand-out.

“Even with the incredible results that a number of our athletes have achieved, Chumpy’s season was nothing short of brilliant,” Kennedy said.

“His dedication, talent and superb achievements make him a highly deserving winner of this year’s Athlete of the Year award.

“And at 25 years old, he is poised to keep the momentum going into next year’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and beyond.”

The night was a double reason for Pullin to celebrate with AIS snowboard program head coach Ben Wordsworth, who works with Pullin at every competition, being named coach of the year.

Other category winners:
Junior Athlete of the Year: Britteny Cox (mogul skiing) and Belle Brockhoff (snowboard cross)
Rising Star: Cameron Staveley (snowboard)
Outstanding Achievement Award: Aerial Skiing Program
Development Coach of the Year: Peter Topalovic
Participation and Sport Development: Allison Stoddart (cross country skiing)

Ski & Snowboard Australia