British Olympic snowboarder Ellie Soutter (18) was found dead in the woods, one week after she disappeared from a ski resort in Les Gets, France, reported PEOPLE. Authorities are yet to announce the official cause of her death.
Who was Ellie Soutter
Soutter had won a bronze medal at the 2017 Youth Olympic Winter Festival in the women’s snowboard cross. This was the only medal Great Britain won in the tournament.
She was also a part of Britain’s team for the snowboard cross Europa Cup circuit and it was being speculated that she would represent Team GB at the 2022 Winter Olympics, reported Indian Express.
Soutter grew up in Surrey, United Kingdom and trained in the Alps.
Need for awareness about mental health
Post this incident, her father Tony Soutter said that may have been struggling to deal with the high level of competition and her preexisting mental illness.
In an interview given to BBC, her father said, “She wanted to be the best. She didn’t want to let anybody down. Unfortunately it all came about from missing a flight which then meant she didn’t go training with the GB squad. She felt she’d let them down, felt she’d let me down and just tragically it just takes one silly little thing like that to tip someone over the edge, because there’s a lot of pressure on children.”
Tony Soutter addressed the issue of mental health to help athletes deal with the pressure and said, “Mental health awareness needs to be really looked at and made more public. I have lost my best friend, my total buddy. She was my rock.”
Untimely demise of a talented athlete
A day after she was found dead her father wrote on Facebook, “This cruel world took my soul mate and ‘Bessie’ from me yesterday on her 18th birthday. Ellie I will miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little champion.”
UK Sport spokesperson said, “This is a desperately sad situation and our thoughts are with all of Ellie’s family and friends. We are working with all of our Olympic and Paralympic programmes and the mental health charity Mind to make sure appropriate support is in place.”
A statement was also issued by British Ski and Snowboard which said, “Ellie was an incredibly popular and well-liked member of the team and the country has lost a great talent. The wellbeing of all athletes across every discipline is the primary concern of any sporting organisation. We commend the family for setting up the Ellie Soutter Foundation and they have our full support.”
To help other winter athletes with financial aid, her family has set up a foundation in her name.
Picture Credit: mirror.co.uk
Kriti Dwivedi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV