15 Months After Olympian's Death, His Daughter Is Born

Alex Pullin's widow gave birth to Minnie Alex in Australia through IVF procedure
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2021 12:34 PM CDT
15 Months After Olympian's Death, His Daughter Is Born
Australia's Alex Pullin, left, hugs his girlfriend Ellidy Vlug prior to a men's snowboard cross competition at the Winter Olympics in Russia, on Feb. 17, 2014.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Fifteen months after the sudden death of Olympic gold medalist Alex "Chumpy" Pullin, his newborn daughter has arrived. The Australian snowboarder's widow, Ellidy Pullin, on Thursday announced the birth of Minnie Alex, conceived through in vitro fertilization. "Your Dad and I have been dreaming of you for years little one," Pullin wrote in announcing her pregnancy on Instagram in June, per CNN. "With a heart wrenching plot twist in the middle, I am honored to finally welcome a piece of the phenomenon that is Chumpy back into this world!"

Alex Pullin, 32, a two-time world champion, drowned off Queensland's Gold Coast in June 2020. On Thursday's episode of her podcast, Ellidy Pullin noted the couple had been having trouble conceiving around that time. "We would have tried for a few more months if he was still around, then 100% gone into IVF. That was always the plan," she said. As it turns out, she became pregnant from sperm retrieved from Pullin's body shortly after he died. "The doctor did hand select the best viable sperm out of the millions and popped it straight into the egg." That process is permitted in Queensland "when the deceased's immediate family give their consent, among other strict regulations," People reports.

It involved "a host of signed legal documents, coroner's approval, and the cooperation of a fertility doctor from an IVF clinic," Pullin wrote in an essay for Vogue Australia's September issue, adding Queensland rules recommend sperm is retrieved within 36 hours of death. "I knew the journey wouldn't be easy … pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, would likely create secondary losses and fresh shoots of grief in the myriad 'I wish you were here' pangs that shoulder everything I do," she wrote. "But I've learned grief, hope, strength and happiness can coexist" and "in many ways, it simply feels like I'm carrying the torch of our future." (More Australia stories.)

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