A snowboarder on track to represent Great Britain at the 2022 Olympics died unexpectedly on her 18th birthday. Ellie Soutter, whom British Ski and Snowboard named as "one of the country's best up-and-coming snowboarders," was found dead Wednesday, though it's unclear how she died or where: The BBC reports she was found near her home in the French Alps, where she trains, while the Independent reports she died in the UK. "This cruel world took my Soul mate and 'Bessie' from me," her father writes on Facebook, per the Guardian, adding he was "so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into."
A snowboard cross and freeride specialist, Soutter was to represent her country at next month's Junior World Championships in New Zealand. She previously served as flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2017 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Turkey, where she took home Britain's only medal, a bronze. "I cried as I crossed the line. I was just so emotional," she said at the time, per the BBC. "I just hope this isn't the last medal I win for Team GB. My goal is to compete at Beijing 2022." Per the BBC, a GoFundMe page set up by her father had raised about a quarter of the funds needed to get her there. (Read more United Kingdom stories.)