Jeret Peterson, who won the silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in the Freestyle Skiing event, died Monday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He informed 911 that he was going to commit suicide and relayed his whereabouts in Lambs Canyon, according to Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Utah Unified Police Department. Peterson was 29.
Peterson, also known as ‘Speedy’, had led a troubled adult life, struggling with depression and alcoholism. Just last Friday, he was arrested for speeding and drunk driving in Hailey, Idaho. He plead not guilty, but failed field sobriety tests and did not want to take a blood-alcohol test. Peterson had decided to stay away from alcohol following his participation at the 2006 Turin Olympics. He had been through a lot, witnessing a friend commit suicide right in front of him back in 2005 and his sister, who was just 5 years old, died at the hands of a drunk driver.
With his silver medal win at the Vancouver Olympics last year, he was overcome with emotion as he stood atop the medals stand. He later said, “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.”
His hometown of Boise, Idaho are devastated by his death. Boise mayor David H. Bieter said today:
“This is a sad day for Boise and for all of us who admired Speedy Peterson’s accomplishments, both on the slopes and in his life…It is truly tragic that, in the end, there was one hill he wasn’t able to conquer. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
It truly is a sad day. Rest in peace, Speedy Peterson, you will be missed.
The video below is of Peterson’s emotional press conference following his silver medal win at last year’s Olympics.