The father of British snowboarder Ellie Soutter has opened up for the first time about his daughter's tragic death. The talented teen died on her 18th birthday last week, and on Wednesday, her dad, Tony, spoke about the pressures his daughter was under, and her history of mental health issues. He told BBC South East: "Ellie wanted to be the best and not 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."
Ellie Soutter was just 18 when she died
The bereaved father also called for more to be done to help people struggling with their mental health. He 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." Ellie's death was announced on Thursday in a statement from The British Olympic Association. It read: "Ellie was an incredibly popular and well liked member of the team. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."
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The rising star won Team GB's only medal at the Youth Olympic Winter Festival. "I cried as I crossed the line. I was just so emotional as it hasn't been the best season for me and it's finally on the way up," she said at the event in Turkey last year via BBC. "I even asked my coach to put snow down my back when I was in the start gate. It helps wake me up so I don't feel all floppy like a jellyfish. I just hope this isn't the last medal I win for Team GB. My goal is to compete at Beijing 2022."
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Ellie was due to return to a snowboard cross competition next month and after she was selected for the British team for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand.