Olympic Skier Speedy Peterson Dies

In Utah, medal-winning aerialist takes life

Jul 27, 2011
Outside Magazine

Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, a three-time Olympic aerialist who won a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver games, died Monday night in what Utah police believe was an act of suicide. Peterson, 29, had publicly battled alcohol addiction and depression, and briefly made headlines over the weekend when he was charged with drunk driving in Idaho on Friday night. Peterson picked up the nickname Speedy, for Speed Racer, as an 11 year old training in Lake Placid, New York. In 2004, he pioneered a complicated, five-rotation jump called the Hurricane, the same maneuver that would later net him the Olympic silver in Vancouver. Peterson was the victim of sexual abuse as a child, and had witnessed a close friend commit suicide in 2005. He called Utah police around 9 P.M. on Monday to inform them of his location and intent to take his life. Authorities later found Peterson dead from an apparent gunshot wound off Interstate 80. Peterson's achievements, said United State Olympic Committee chief Scott Blackmum, "were an inspiration to people all over the world."

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