US Olympic medallist commits suicide

2011-07-27 09:38

Salt Lake City – Olympic freestyle skiing silver medallist Jeret “Speedy” Petersen has committed suicide, police said yesterday.

Petersen, 29, shot himself on Monday, three few days after being arrested on suspicion of speeding and drunk driving.
He was released on bail.

Police said his body was found at Lambs Canyon between Salt Lake City and Park City and that he left a suicide note.

Petersen also called emergency dispatch to announce his suicide.

Petersen won Olympic silver in the aerials event at the 2010 Games in Vancouver with his trademark “Hurricane” jump featuring three flips and five twists.

He won the aerials World Cup title in 2005.

Petersen reportedly suffered from alcohol problems and depression. He was sexually abused as a child and his sister died when she was hit by a drunk driver.

A friend of his took his life shortly before the 2006 Olympics and Petersen was sent home from those Games after a fight. He had several minor brushes with the law.

“The entire Olympic family is heartbroken to hear the news of Jeret “Speedy” Peterson’s untimely passing. I know Speedy’s friends and family were incredibly proud of his effort in Vancouver, and his achievements were an inspiration to people all over the world,” said US Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun in a statement.

“The personal challenges Speedy has battled are familiar to all of us, and on behalf of the US Olympic Committee, I’d like to offer my sympathy to Speedy’s family and friends. Today is a sad day.”

US ski federation president Bill Marolt said: “Today is a sad day in our sport. Jeret “Speedy” Peterson was a great champion who will be missed and remembered as a positive, innovative force on not only his sport of freestyle aerials, but on the entire US Freestyle Ski Team family and everyone he touched.”

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