There were tears of joy today for 16-year-old Ellie Soutter as she crossed the finish line to win snowboard cross bronze, Team GB’s first medal of the Erzurum 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival.
The Bromley-born boarder saw off the challenge of Russia’s Zinaida Vasileva in the girls’ final and secured third place behind Agathe Sillieres and Kim Martinez of France who took gold and silver respectively.
Soutter, who grew up in Oxsted, Surrey, before moving to the Alps, had earlier narrowly edged out teammate Maisie Hill in the semi-final to clinch a spot to race for the medals before Hill went on to win the B final and finish fifth overall.
The medal comes midway through the Festival, which features 17 Team GB athletes across five sporting disciplines, and Soutter admitted she was overcome with emotion as soon as she finished and was greeted by Hill.
“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet,” said Soutter, “I’m a little bit emotional.”
“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.
“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.
"It was so nice to have Maisie at the finish line. The support from the whole team has been amazing this week and it really helps motivate you. I just hope this isn’t the last medal I win for Team GB - my goal is to compete at Beijing 2022.”