Tragic revelation behind teen star’s death
BRITISH snowboarder Ellie Soutter's dad has spoken out about the pressures on athletes - exactly one week after the teenage star killed herself.
Her body was found in remote woodland near her French home on her 18th birthday - just days after she missed a flight out to a Team GB training session, The Sun reports.
Speaking to BBC South East, her Dad Tony has spoken out about the pressures of competing at such a high level, adding that Ellie "wanted to be the best and not let anybody down".
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In his first public interview since her death, Tony said his daughter's history of mental health issues coupled with the stresses of elite level sports may have been a contributing factor to her suicide.
He added that the trigger for her decision could have been a missed flight that meant she could not train with the Team GB squad.
Tony said: "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."
Ellie's dad has now called for more help to be made available to young sportsmen and women, adding: "Mental health awareness needs to be really looked at and made more public."
He posted an emotional message on Facebook last week, confirming his family's heartbreak.
"This cruel world took my Soul mate and 'Bessie' from me yesterday on her 18th birthday," Soutter wrote.
"I was so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into.
"Ellie I will miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little Champion!"
Family members claimed Ellie had not shown any signs of her mental anguish just weeks before her death.
The teenager was described as "bright as a button" and "happy, excited about life" when she attended a wedding in the UK recently.
Ellie, who was born and raised in Surrey, moved to Les Gets in 2009 and was home schooled in her final two years of education due to her sporting commitments.
A specialist in freeride and boardercross, Ellie was due to return to snowboard cross competition, representing Britain at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand next month.
She was considered one of Team GB's great hopes for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, having claimed Team GB's only medal at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey last year.
The teen had been forced to stop competing at the beginning of this year due to a lack of funding but she was able to start again and was expected to compete in the junior world championships.
Devastated friends and family of the snowboarder flooded social media with tributes after news of her death was announced, organising a memorial at the Hotel Spa Crychar in Les Gets, France tonight.
Pal Abi Rundle described Ellie as the "kindest, most caring, talented and beautiful friend".
She wrote: "If only you knew how much you truly meant to everyone.
"Not a day will go past where I don't think about and miss you. Until we meet again my angel, forever in my heart, I love you."
Oscar Mandin also shared a photograph of the pair together, simply writing: "Goodbye Ellie..." accompanied by a love heart.
British Ski Cross champion Emily Sarsfield added: "So sad to hear the news of the passing of Ellie Soutter.
"You really were an amazing girl! Such a fun teammate, made me smile everyday, cracking all the jokes and enjoying life to it's fullest! I'm going to miss you and your amazing energy. All my thoughts to your family."
Olympic champion Amy Williams added: "Such sad tragic news to wake up to. Thoughts and prayers go to Ellie Soutter's family."
And friend Ryan Pelluchon added: "Every second spent with you was a pleasure: partying, riding or just chilling. I just wish I could of had more of it... Rest In Peace you champion."
Team GM teammate Maisie Hill was among those paying tribute to Ellie, saying: "Have a good ride up there Ellie".
Another described Ellie as a "little gem" as friends shared tributes marked with the motto #rideforellie
Ellie had grown up in Oxted, Surrey, before moving overseas to train.
- This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk
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