British Olympic Snowboarder Ellie Soutter Dead At 18 After Suicide; Athlete Had Longtime Mental Health Issues
British Olympic snowboarder Ellie Soutter was found dead in the woods near a ski resort in Southeastern France on July 25 in an apparent suicide. She was 18.
Soutter, a rising Olympian in Great Britain, died on her 18th birthday. Her father Tony told BBC “I have lost my best friend, my total buddy. She was my rock.”
Tony Soutter continued by saying his daughter had long been suffering from mental illness, and that this — coupled with the pressure of excelling in international competitions — likely drove her to end her life.
“Unfortunately it all came about from missing a flight which then meant she didn’t go training with the [Great Britain] squad,” Tony Soutter said in an interview with BBC South East. “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.”
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mirror, Ellie’s mother Lorraine Denman paid homage to her daughter during a funeral service held at the Eglise de la Nativité de Marie church in Les Gets, France on Thursday.
“Our private bond meant you and I together could achieve anything. No one here will ever understand how close we were. No matter where the future takes us I will always be there for you,” Denman reportedly said at the service, according to the Mirror. “I love you and adore you Ellie, but you must now rest and worry no more,” Denman continued. “We will look out for each other forever. I make you that promise.”
Soutter won a bronze medal in snowboard cross while competing for Team Great Britain at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey in February 2017. She discussed her experience competing at the festival at the end of the event.