Ellie Soutter’s father reveals pressure to fund career ‘took its toll’

Snowboarder Ellie Soutter’s father reveals pressure to fund her £30,000-a-year dream ‘played massively on her mind’ and ‘took its toll’ as he launches foundation to support young athletes

  • Team GB star killed herself on 18th birthday in woodlands near Les Gets, France
  • Father Tony, 53, appeared on BBC to highlight effect of stress of young athletes
  • Yearly costs for training, travel and accommodation were upwards of £30,000
  • More than 400 people attended funeral in the French Alps after her death in July

The father of tragic snowboarder Ellie Soutter has revealed the pressure of funding her £30,000-a-year dream ‘played massively on her mind’. 

The rising Team GB star killed herself on her 18th birthday in remote woodland in Les Gets, France as she struggled to deal with stress and depression.

She had been tipped to represent her country at the 2022 Winter Olympics before her death in July, having won a bronze medal at European Youth Olympics in 2017.

Her father Tony, 53, appeared on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show to highlight the effect of stress of young athletes as her family look to start a foundation in her name.

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Ellie Soutter killed herself on her 18th birthday in a remote woodland in Les Gets, France as she struggled to deal with stress

Speaking about finding the money to fund her training, travel and accommodation costs, which were upwards of £30,000 a year, Mr Soutter (pictured) said: ‘It was a big strain’

Speaking about finding the money to fund her training, travel and accommodation costs, which were upwards of £30,000 a year, he said: ‘It was a big strain.

‘We rented and lived hand and mouth really as we were pumping so much money into it.


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‘You do that as a parent, that was my choice because I loved it, but you sacrifice a lot and she was acutely aware of the sacrifices I was making.  

‘She would often ask not to go to competitions because she didn’t want us to have to take the financial burden of it. 

Ellie Soutter’s father revealed how the pressure of funding her £30,000-a-year dream ‘played massively on her mind’

Her father Tony (pictured) appeared on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show to highlight the effect of stress of young athletes as her family look to start a foundation in her name

‘You can’t progress without paying out to go to these national and world championships. It is a vicious cycle.’ 

Ellie lived in the French Alps with her father, and was due to represent Team GB at the Junior Snowboard World Championships in New Zealand.

More than 400 people attended her funeral, where Ellie’s simple wooden coffin was carried up the 15 granite steps of the church in Les Gets to Handel’s Largo.

Ellie lived in the French Alps with her father, and was due to represent Team GB at the Junior Snowboard World Championships

Afterwards, her ashes were scattered on Mont Chéry, her favourite mountain where she regularly trained.

Speaking about the pressures facing young athletes, Mr Soutter said: ‘When you think these young children are giving up so much.

‘In Ellie’s case, she gave up normal schooling to be home schooled and then they are missing a lot of friendships, they can’t go out partying with friends, they’re alone a lot or with coaches and people like that.

‘I think you can look into lots of things, and as parents both Lorraine and I look back and do a lot of “what if this and that” and you can go through those all day, every day for the rest of your life.’

Mr Soutter also said that daughter’s state of mind may have been affected by several head injuries and concussions she suffered in her career.

He added that the teenager suffered a serious concussion while snowboarding three months before her death. 

‘Ellie had several concussions,’ he said. ‘I met her seven-and-a-half hours after she was airlifted to hospital and she had no idea who I was and was very traumatised by that whole incident. 

‘I think she was saying to herself that she might have to give this up, which could also lead to depression.’

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