Team GB snowboarder Ellie Soutter dies on her 18th birthday
Team GB snowboarder Ellie Soutter has died at the age of 18, the British Olympic Association has announced.
Soutter, "one of the country's best up-and-coming snowboarders", died on her 18th birthday on Wednesday.
Last year she claimed Team GB's only medal at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey.
A Freeride and Boardercross specialist, she had just been selected for the British team for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand.
She had been training abroad in recent weeks but was back home in the UK when she died.
"Ellie was an incredibly popular and well liked member of the team," British Olympic Association chair Hugh Robertson and BOA Athlete Commission chair Ben Hawes said in a joint statement.
"Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."
British Ski and Snowboard meanwhile said in a statement: "Ellie was one of the country's best up-and-coming snowboarders, competing in both snowboard cross and freeride."
The statement added that Soutter had been due to return to competition next month.
Her father, Tony Soutter, said he was "so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into".
"This cruel world took my soulmate and 'Bessie' from me yesterday on her 18th birthday," he posted on Facebook.
"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!"
Soutter, who grew up in Surrey before moving to the Alps, was due to return to snowboard cross competition next month.
She was an inaugural member of the British Europa Cup snowboard cross programme, and had been tipped to win a place in the Team GB squad for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Her official website described going to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as her "ultimate ambition", while listing her as an ambassador for the Les Gets Ski Station in the French Alps.
No further details have been given about her death at this time.
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Independent News Service