Olympic "Hurricane" Skier Jeret Peterson Commits Suicide

Peterson took silver at the Vancouver Games

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2011  |  Updated 7:40 PM CDT
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In Memoriam

Jaret Peterson was found dead in what police are calling a suicide.

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Olympic silver medalist Jeret "Speedy" Peterson was found dead in a remote canyon in Utah in what police are calling a suicide.

Peterson, a freestyle skier who patented the so-called "Hurricane" and took second place at the Vancouver Games with it, called emergency services before shooting himself, police said. The 29-year-old had been cited for drunken driving Friday in Idaho and had pleaded not guilty.

Officers found Peterson late Monday night between Salt Lake City and Park City in Lambs Canyon.

He was one of the most colorful of athletes, and he was publicly emotional — never more than on Feb. 26, 2010, when he walked off the mountain after winning the silver medal, with tears streaming down his face.

"I know that a lot of people go through a lot of things in their life, and I just want them to realize they can overcome anything," Peterson said. "There's light at the end of the tunnel and mine was silver and I love it."

It was a splendid closing chapter to a career that, until then, had been filled with success on the smaller stages of his sport but defined by his moment at the 2006 Turin Olympics where, after finishing seventh, he was sent home early after a minor scuffle with a buddy in the street.

Over the next months and years, he began telling his story. In Italy, he was still reeling from the suicide of a friend, who had shot himself in front of Peterson only months before.

Peterson also had problems with alcohol and depression and admitted he had his own thoughts of suicide, all stemming from a childhood in which he was sexually abused and lost his 5-year-old sister to a drunken driver.

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