Home Australia ‘Keep his flame alive’: Stadium named in honour of snowboarding legend Chumpy Pullin

‘Keep his flame alive’: Stadium named in honour of snowboarding legend Chumpy Pullin

0 comment
Chumpy Pullin and Ellidy on the beach

Ellidy Pullin wants people to remember her husband Alex Pullin as someone who “never gave up on his dreams” and worked hard for what he wanted.

The Olympic winter snowboarder, nicknamed “Chumpy”, died in 2020 while spearfishing at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.

Now his former high school in his hometown of Mansfield, in the foothills of the Victorian snowfields, is celebrating his achievements by naming a stadium after him.

The Victorian Government recently announced that the stadium would officially be called Alex Pullin Stadium after the local community voted on a shortlist of names.

For Ellidy, bringing her name back to Mansfield, where she was born and where the Pullin family ran a ski shop, will be like “bringing it home.”

“He was a very important part of the Mansfield community,” she said.

“This is just a beautiful way to honor him in his hometown where he grew up.”

Ellidy and Alex Pullin on the beach.(Supplied: Hachette)

‘Keep his flame alive’

Pullin was a two-time world champion and competed at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, acting as flag bearer for the Australian team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“He was a do-it-all guy. Whatever he wanted to do, he would get it,” Ellidy said.

“Everyone who knows Chump, or had a conversation with Chump, felt that in his energy and his presence.”

A man holds an Australian flag in front of the Olympic rings.

Alex Pullin holds the Australian flag after being announced as flag bearer for the Sochi Winter Olympics.(Getty Images: Pretty Adam)

He hopes Pullin’s name on Mansfield Stadium will inspire “young entrepreneurs going through school” and “keep their spirits burning and alive.”

“I want people to say his name. I want people to recognize him when he’s in the stadium and just keep his flame alive,” Ellidy said.

She also hopes her legacy lives on in her daughter Minnie, who was conceived through posthumous IVF and was born more than a year after Pullin’s death.

Newborn Minnie Pullin in the arms of her mother Ellidy.

Alex and Ellidy’s daughter, Minnie Alex Pullin, was born more than a year after her father’s death.(Instagram: Ellidy Pullin)

While most people knew Pullin for his sporting achievements, Ellidy said Minnie was getting to know her father through his music and lyrics.

He hopes his daughter remembers how happy her father was, his adventurous spirit and “how much he loved life.”

‘A bittersweet concept’

For Pullin’s father, Chris Pullin, the overwhelming support for the stadium’s name in the Mansfield community had been encouraging.

“I am very happy because I know that the choice of this name has the strong support of the community,” he said.

Chris and Sally Pullin with their granddaughter Minnie.

Chris and Sally Pullin with their granddaughter Minnie.(Supplied: Hachette)

He added that it was difficult to be “crazy excited and happy” because the memory of Pullin was “always a bittersweet concept.”

“We are happy that the stadium is in his honour, but of course we would prefer it not to be that way.”

“We would prefer to continue sharing birthdays and Christmas together.”

Pullin says the stadium “couldn’t have a better name ambassador.”

He hopes students at the school will be inspired by his son’s love of sports and music or simply “being a good human being.”

“Any of those things Chumpy would absolutely inspire people to do,” he said.

A stadium for the entire community

Mansfield High School Principal Timothy Hall says the stadium is not just for the school but for the community at large.

Principal Timothy Hall at Mansfield College Stadium

Mansfield Secondary College principal Timothy Hall stands at the stadium which will be named after Alex Pullin.(Supplied: Mansfield Secondary College)

This means school students will use it during the day and the Mansfield community will have access after school hours.

Hall wants those who use the stadium to remember Pullin as an ambassador for snow sports and Mansfield.

He said the city had produced a number of elite athletes in snow sports, shooting, cycling and AFL, despite its small population.

“In terms of our proportion of our population that has sport as a really key part of what they do and how they live life, Mansfield is a very unusual place and we are very proud of what is happening in our place,” said the Mr. Hall said.

You may also like