Many are mourning the loss of Australian skier Brittany George. She was only 24 years old.
The aspiring Olympian was found dead in a Brisbane neighborhood in Queensland, Australia, on January 27, according to the Courier Mail. The last time that she was seen alive was around the same area where her body was found on January 21. Her cause of death has yet to be confirmed.
Severe Back Injury Forces Brittany George Into Early Retirement
Many fear that mental health may have been a factor in her death. Brittany had been part of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia from 2017 to 2020 and hoped to earn a spot in the Winter Olympics. However, she experienced a back injury that forced her into early retirement. In October, she appeared on the “Couching the Mind” podcast to talk about the heartbreaking injury.
“It has literally been my whole life, I’ve been ‘the athlete’ from when I was 2 until when I was 20 or 21,” she said. “I did not have an identity. I was labeled ‘the athlete’ from a very young age and just rode with it.”
“I put everything in,” she added. “My injuries [and] my schoolwork went second-hand, everything went second-hand to sport…It was absolutely all or nothing. You’re an athlete but who am I? Who am I as a person? Who is Brittany? I don’t know that…I struggle every day to know who that is.”
She was also candid about her struggles with mental health.
“I will admit I do have a lot of mental health issues and mental illnesses, diagnosed myself, quite at an early age,” she said on the podcast. “I was four [or] five-years-old when my brain kinda tipped over and was like. Okay, so the plan is you’ll be an athlete until you’re good, and when you’re done, then you’ll die.”
Family Sets Up Go Fund Me For The Late Skier
As of Saturday morning, Brittany’s family had already surpassed their goal of $10,000 AUD through their GoFundMe page.
“On Thursday, 27th of January 2022, our world stopped as we heard the devastating news that our beloved Brittany had passed away,” the statement began.
“Anyone who knew Brittany, knew that she was determined and courageous, whilst also caring and kind,” they continued.
“This was exemplified by her esteemed attributes as a former professional Elite Gymnast, and former Olympic Freestyle Aerial Skier with the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia. Travelling the world to do this, she met and impacted so many people’s lives in such a positive way that I am sure would last a lifetime.”
“Always willing to support anyone who needed a hand with such selfless commitment, it was an honour to be called her family or friend,” they added.
Although some of the funds will cover funeral costs, the rest of the money will be provided to Lifeline, an organization that provides 24/7 crisis management.
“This fundraiser has been organised on behalf of the family,” they said. “All money raised will go directly towards funeral costs and arrangements to celebrate Brittany’s life. Any remaining funds will be donated to Lifeline, a non-profit organisation providing 24/7 crisis support.”
The family reached their goal of $10,000 AUD on January 30. “Thank you so much to everyone who has generously made a donation,” organizer Nicole Quinert posted at the time. “The amount of love and support for Brittany has been phenomenal. Please continue to share this page and spread the word.”
Fellow Skier & Friend Abbey Willcox Pays Tribute
Fellow skier Abbey Willcox took to Instagram to pay tribute to her late friend.
“Britt – I am so sorry. I am so so sorry it ended up this way,” she began.
“I know we were never best friends, but you were such a big part of the aerials world, and our lives,” she continued. “We did so many firsts together – first competition, first doubles on snow, first World Cup. We literally travelled the world together.”
“I am so sorry ❤️ I don’t really know what to say, I’m still processing this,” she continued. “I hope you’ve found peace, I really do.”
She encouraged her followers to seek help if they needed crisis support.
“Please, if you need to talk to someone, call Lifeline on 13 11 14,” she wrote. “Or speak to the AIS Mental Health Referral Network on +61 2 6214 1130. Link in bio.”