Chumpy named Australian flagbearer
Snowboarder Alex “Chumpy” Pullin will carry the Australian flag at the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday night. Nine News.
PT0M51S http://www.smh.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3253o 620 349 February 7, 2014 – 8:02AM
Snowboarder Alex “Chumpy” Pullin learned he will carry the Australian flag at Friday night’s Winter Olympics opening ceremony – and then said the sight of warships off the coast as he flew into Sochi heartened him that he would not be at the centre of a terrorist attack.
Pullin, who is one of Australia’s leading medal contenders in the men’s snowboard cross, was a surprise selection ahead of four-time Olympic aerial freestyle skier Lydia Lasilla.
He will lead a record 60-strong team into the ceremony, although the event will happen under the cloud of terrorist fears.
Medal favourite: Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin. Photo: Getty Images
The opening ceremony has long been identified as a potential target from Chechen extremists, who have vowed to create havoc on the games.
“No, not at all,” Pullin said when asked if he was nervous about potential threat.
“We flew in over navy ships that were floating out in the water, all surrounding the airport, and later when we looked out the window there was a military officer manning once every 20 metres. There’s such a security lock down on the whole thing, and this event is taken very seriously.”
“I’m sure it’s secure and everything is completely under control.”
Pullen qualified first in the event at the Vancouver Games but crashed out in his first head-to-head race.
Since then, he has become the event’s world leader, claiming two overall World Cup crowns as well as his double world championship success.
Pullin was named the flagbearer in front of Channel Ten stakeholders Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer, and Federal Minster for Sport Peter Dutton.
In Vancouver, fellow snowboarder Torah Bright carried the flag and went on to win gold.
Asked if he hoped it was an omen, he said: “I hope so. I’d love to keep the tradition alive. At this stage, it doesn’t change anything.”