US Olympic Medalist Commits Suicide

Posted July 26th, 2011 at 8:45 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Winter Olympics medalist Jeret “Speedy” Peterson has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police in Salt Lake City, Utah, said the 29-year-old Peterson called Monday night to tell them where he was and that he was going to commit suicide. He was found dead shortly thereafter in a mountainous area of Utah called Lambs Canyon.

Peterson was arrested last Friday for allegedly speeding and drunk driving on a road in the neighboring state of Idaho. His attorney filed a not-guilty charge on his behalf for both crimes.

Peterson won the silver medal for aerial skiing at last year's Vancouver Olympics, performing an extremely difficult move called the “Hurricane” that he invented. It featured three flips and five twists.

The three-time Olympian had a troubled life. He was sexually abused as a child, lost his sister to a drunk driver and witnessed a roommate commit suicide. He was sent home from the 2006 Turin Olympics after an alcohol-fueled bar fight. The aerial skier had finished seventh at those Games.

He quit the sport after that and did not go through treatment or rehabilitation. But he returned to competition the year before the Vancouver Games, won the second World Cup meet he entered, and again qualified for the Olympics.