July 26th, 2011
10:39 PM ET

U.S. skier Jeret Peterson shot himself to death, police say

Aerial skier and Olympic silver medalist Jeret "Speedy" Peterson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a spokesman for the Utah Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake said.

Police responded to a 911 call Monday night from Peterson, who said he was going to commit suicide and gave them his location in Lambs Canyon, Lt. Justin Hoyal said.

He was already dead by the time officers arrived at 11:30 p.m. ET, Hoyal said.

"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," said, Boise Mayor Mayor David H. Bieter, who presented Peterson with the Key to the City last year after he medaled in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

"The hundreds of kids who came to City Hall to shake Speedy's hand after he medaled in Vancouver last year are a living testament to his power to inspire and motivate. 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."

Peterson won a silver medal in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games for freestyle skiing after pulling off his signature move, the Hurricane.

Peterson picked up the nickname "Speedy" at a summer ski camp in Lake Placid, New York, in the mid-1990s because coaches thought he resembled the cartoon character "Speed Racer" with a big helmet, according to the United States Ski and Snowboard Association website. He won the 1999 U.S. Junior Championship and took bronze at two straight World Junior Championships in 2000 and 2001.

His life was not without tragedy. He reportedly considered suicide after losing $550,000 in blackjack earnings, according to The New York Times. His half-sister died in a drunken driving accident when he was 5. A friend committed suicide at his house, in front of him.

"The personal challenges Speedy has battled are familiar to all of us, and on behalf of the U.S. Olympic Committee, I'd like to offer my sympathy to Speedy's family and friends. Today is a sad day," U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement.

"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."

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Filed under: Sports • Utah
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. KamleshMistry.com

    God Bless the world, and may we one day start hearing good things on the news....

    July 26, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sammy

      Amen to that!

      July 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LMNOP

    Sad case. Yet again so much talent falls to waste.

    July 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Geoff

    So sorry for the Peterson family, friends, and fans. I lost my brother, in the same way, 2 days ago. My family know what your going thru.

    July 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Geoff,
      I wish you all the best during this very difficult time. I lost my mother to suicide almost 10 years ago. I was 25 at the time. I want to let you and your family know that things do get better although it might seem impossible right now. Time does heal. It is my hope that you and your family will take the time you need. I highly reccomend seeking out a Survivors of Suicide group when you are ready.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deep

      My condolences are with you and your family Geoff.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • rafael

      Condolences.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      We experienced the same tragedy this past December with my 43 year old brother. It's difficult to understand why he did what he did, but above all, you must not blame yourself. The grieving process will take some time and you'll go in and out of it. Don't worry though, you and your family will get through it together.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tomict

    Many millions of us are actually QUITE familiar with the day-to-day sufferings that Mr. Peterson faced.
    I've lost scholarship offerings, my parents were killed in an automobile accident, I've battled alcoholism, dragged my wife & children from a life of luxury to poverty after bad investments. But here I stand...alive & well.
    I continue to fight for every breath my family is willing to take.

    I feel remorse for Mr. Peterson's friends, family & loved ones, but HE is the one to blame! NOT LIFE! A weakling, a cheater, a cop-out...a complete & uitter theif as far as I am concerned.

    May he rest in peace.

    July 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sammy

      maybe you should go back over your list and reconsider.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomict

      Sammy: Through all the hell & high water, there's always a reason to continue living another day.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMB

      I find it heartbreaking to read the degree of insensitivity I see on this page. The man called the police so his loved ones wouldn't find him. He knew the pain of suicide because he had experienced/witnessed it personally. I don't think a coward kills themselves. People who are in pain, feel alone and who feel hopeless – and can't see their way out – sometimes do. That is devastating – and I hope heaven is filled with prayer for that hurting family.

      TOMICT – Many people who have encountered profound loss and tragedy become far more empathic in their lives. My friend, you are not one of them.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sammy

      Still, just think about reconsidering.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • keith

      You are a piece of s-h-i-t

      July 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Have you ever thought maybe you have a different brain chemistry than this guy? There is a scientific explanation for depression this deep. Your arrogance is stunning.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      I think you're just jealous you don't have the balls to do it yourself. I thinking ending one's life is incredibly courageous.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Camarones

      whoever started the biggest lie that suicide is cowardice was a fool trying to sound profound. there is nothing cowardly about ending your life. pointing a gun in your mouth or jumping off 300 ft from the Golden Gate bridge - only a determined person can do that. Unfortunately, it's the wrong determination.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Sabina

      Wow, you sound like an amazing person to have conquered so much and risen above all the garbage you dumped on your family. And a complete jackhole.
      Why did you even bother saying "May he rest in peace" after calling him every name in the book.
      Add PHONY to your list of attributes.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. CJ

    compassion

    July 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Judging by the comments, there is none, wonder if they would think it so funny if it was one of their friends

      July 27, 2011 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. razzi

    He did not allow for criminal investigation and that is why he called the authorities prior to suicide (my opinion).

    July 26, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. VFL85

    I sincerely hope that in my weakest moment, someone will hold my life in higher regard than a simple matter of natural selection. I also hope that when others, such as yourself, experience his or her weakest moment, you won't be afraid to let go of all of your fear and baggage and embrace the idea that we are all in this together, and need each other, and perhaps need a God also, if you are so inclined to believe when that time comes...

    July 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • VFL85

      This was intended to be a reply to a rather insensitive poster who's post has since been deleted...

      July 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • pweldon2895

      Still an important comment. Thank you.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMB

      Amen

      July 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • ROCKWOOD

      Deep....probably beyond most peoples understanding.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Atheos5150

      Honestly, people commit suicide mainly for the same reason, they believe that God has a better place for them in heaven.
      Honestly ask yourself how many Atheists (not on the fence Agnostics) you know of that have committed suicide. I am an Atheist, I personally know of none. Not saying there is not a few, but the heaven delusion is a dangerous one because it is an option to those who believe, even though it is a sin.
      Atheos5150
      .

      July 26, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AK

      That is a pretty strong unsubstantiated statement from someone "smart" enough to not believe in a higher power/intelligence.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • 50 and still WFO

      +1

      July 27, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom Hartman

      the heaven "delusion" is only a delusion to those who think everything, including us typing here right now, was a perfect accident that created itself lol

      July 27, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • dkturd

      @Atheos5150: I hate to break the news to you, but unless you're the one with the gun in your hand and staring into that black hole at the end of the barrel, you have no idea why a person commits suicide. If you believe otherwise, then you're just as "deluded" as the non-atheists you seem to think are led like sheep to the promised land. I have been there, stared into that hole, and I can tell god had nothing to do with it. No one put me there but myself, and no one got me out but myself. And before you assume I'm a bible-thumper, let me save you the trouble: I don't even own one and only go to church for funerals.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Name*me not you

      A lot of religious people commit suicide. It is not about their beliefs of going to hell. It's about just wanting to stop. Atheists are narsasisitc and only believe in their selves. Our savior will save us in the end whether it be ourselves or another deity. We either go to sleep or we die. Either way rest in peace speedy, I believe in his word and I don't think you are going to hell.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Peacemaker

      Most people, including a friend of mine kill themselves to escape emotional or physical pain. Its speculation what pain they are in, as much as their motive. So no, atheos it would be incorrect for you to assume that God and Heaven are the cause of pain and suffering and thus provide a "shelter". My hope is that people in that position stop for one second... just one second and call on Him. I did and it changed my life forever. I NEVER believed in God until one day in between life and death, He showed up at my hospital bed and I was miraculously healed by a stranger. I thank you Lord and ask you to forgive those who need you. Amen.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Srik

      As a fellow atheist, I disagree. People commit suicide because of severe depression – I personally have come close in the past. Its not a way to escape and go to heaven or anything like that – If anything, religious people believe suicide will send you to hell. That being said, its very difficult to be rational at all times – especially when you are depressed.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
    • truth

      I personally know at least two atheists who have committed suicide. It has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with a deadly disease – depression.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
    • marie

      Atheos5150: What the f are you talking about? How many people have you spoken to who have committed suicide...? Seeing as how suicide is considered a "sin" in the major religions, it's also considered a sure ticket to hell- not heaven. Otherwise there'd be a lot more religious people singing psalms as they blow their brains out. You make NO sense.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
    • NOTSONUTSO

      How can suicide be a "sin" if, according to you, there is no God???

      July 27, 2011 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Probably not a good time to spread you're wisdom. Believe what you want but that theory is nuts. The problem with Atheists is they think they're smarter than everybody.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
    • scott

      Personally, I don't believe that atheists think they are smarter than everyone...but look at religion as a bunch of nonsense. I do at least.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      The ignorance in these posts is palpable.

      You don't have to be a scholar of theology to understand that almost all religions believe that if you commit suicide, it's a Cardinal sin, which means you do NOT go to heaven. To suggest that people commit suicide to go to heaven is akin to suggesting that people commit the seven deadly sins to hasten their deaths so that they can arrive in heaven sooner.

      I seriously wonder what state the U.S. is in when the simpletons of this nation seem to be the most active and tend to shout in the loudest voice.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Letonmvb

      Religion rarely, in the stories I've heard of it and people I've known that have committed suicide, has anything to do with it. The ones I've heard about or known personally have almost always had to do with depression and pain. Whether it was emotional pain at loss of a friend or loved one where they have felt personally responsible for it, self esteem issues and emotional trauma from bullying and abuse, and just trying to escape and end extreme emotional pain. And just because your atheist and don't believe in a God or anything religous, does not give you the right to pin someone's suicide, which is their own PERSONAL decision and is a result of things that you should have no business digging in in the first place, on religion and the idea of heaven. It was an ignorant comment, and just an excuse for you to make your irrelevant opinions known.

      My love goes to his family and friends. He will be missed in the community and remembered fondly.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
    • jayhawk

      I don't think Hemmingway was particularly religious. He had an upbringing in the church but I don't think he held it close. Not certain I can classify him as an atheist either.

      July 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mmm

      Good message.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • mmm

      Great post about such a sad thing.

      My condolences to family and friends....

      July 27, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Slybele

      Beautifuly put.. thank you. RIP Speedy

      July 27, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
    • john percer

      the poog guy's has been going downhill for years........

      July 27, 2011 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Naughty-Victorians

      Thank you 100 percent correct...

      July 27, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • WEBSPY

      you are right there are nuclear clocks that were found a millionth of a second out,,,it was discovered when a persons electromagnetic field was near them it interfere with them. Thus a project was created and the clocks were put all over the earth in large cities spitting out data of electromagnetic. the data spikes 0 to 3 or 5 it only went greater then 5 once they all spiked to 46 Sept 11Th 2001 2 hours before the attack.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
    • master bayshun

      I couldn't of said it any better. very well said.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Clinton

      I really like this post.......made sense to me........we as humans really do need each other! I hope one day all of our eyes will be opened to this fact and that Capitalism is kiiling many people...........CUZ IT IS FAILING ALL OF US!

      July 27, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • ak197676

      You are stupid, blaming this on capitalism ? Did that make him loose $550k in blackjack ?

      July 27, 2011 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. DropCliffsNotBabies

    no mention on here about his DUI last week or his run-ins with the law, or losing a sister to a drunk driver when he was younger, or a friend committing suicide infront of him.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZweiStein

      I guess you didn't read the same article I did. But..as far as a DUI or any other run-in with the law...well, that is NOT mentioned.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Axelle

    Another tragedy; another life wasted. He could have done so much and meant so much especially to the kids who considered him a hero. Too bad he never got the help he so obviously needed.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. beyonsense

    if he wouldn't have an access to a gun, would he be dead now? probably not...

    July 26, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Wow, you want to take even the right to die away from us? Are there any rights you don't want to take? Forcing someone to live when they don't want to is just as bad or worse than forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • AK

      What a silly comment. He cut have cut, jumped, popped or swam to the same fate. Go to the Norway Massacre story to discuss gun control.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • AK

      Sorry, "could have"

      July 26, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Perfect

    You should do that tonight!

    July 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Camarones

      Do what tonight?

      July 27, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    I suspect the suicide rate has at least doubled in the last 2 years. Soon the media will not be able to hide how messed up a large portion of the public is. It's a change in the life energy of earth. Probably the same thing making the rich so insanely greedy.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. saddened

    How sad in the darkest hour of his family and friends lives....selfish, judgemental hearts can make negative remarks about a person at this time...I knew Speedy, you did not....he was a beautiful person-blessed people with his smile, charm and caring nature. He will be incredibly missed...The crass, ignorant remarks made makes it obvious you never knew this awesome guy. He had a story, a past and difficulties....he used his story to better the lives of others. If you take the time to make someone feel important, even for a second, instead of criticizing and judging....who knows what you could prevent...God Bless to Speedys family and friends

    July 26, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • QuanahTX

      Thank you for your comment, and God bless you, too. I don't understand why people feel they have to say such negative, cruel, and crass things.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rafael

    You're a bit of a dimwit. Someone disappearing would lead to more policework than going to recover a body in a known location.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Capt. Smokey

    I so wish that young people would know that the problems
    they have at 30 years of age will go away before they kill their selves.
    Just hang on if you can and talk it out ,what we feel may not be as bad as
    we think it is. Moods do cahnage.
    I speak as an old person ,who knows how these things happen in life most
    of us if we could would wish even those painful years back now.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
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