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. Mr SandyK

    There is always another minute that could make the last one better. it is easier to get by sometimes when you dont look at the big picture

    July 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mike

    I read that as he misplaced the money. Like he went home with a stack of cash and lost it somewhere.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cahlen

    condolences to the peterson family.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. trish

    Hey guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG a friend of mine is fighting for her life.... Thanks

    July 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. QuanahTX

    Why, why, why would you throw something like that out there, totally out of the blue?

    July 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jessicaber

    Why would an olympic skier do that? That is absolutely sick. Did he need approval that badly?

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

    Rest in peace bro. Dammit man you should have got help.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      What a silly thing to do. What a goddam silly thing to do. You wont even be there to watch their faces.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mr SandyK

    I have come in after many suicides and looked at alot of notes. most start with I am sorry I did whatever, they just cant see a way out of the mess they were in. sometimes the pain of living on was just too much. whatever it is it just gets a hold of their spirit. alot of my fellow officers thinks it is a selfish thing to do because of the damage left behind. I couldnt make that judgement

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

      I don't envy the job you do but I am grateful you're there to do it.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Angelique

      It's only selfish when it's a person that takes others with them IMHO. Whether that means jumping in front of a train (causing the driver trauma) or in some way actually killing others along with yourself –

      July 27, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • vegan

      I think it is definitely selfish. You are causing irreparable harm to the psyche of those who love(d) you.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • John Richardson

      @MrSandyK I applaud your refusal to engage in the sort of shallow judgementalism of some of your fellow officers. Just because people can't grasp the level of pain that leads someone to this decision doesn't mean it didn't exist. Yes, there is pain for others afterward. But they owe it to the suicide victim AND themselves to forgive. It's not trivial and can't be dome immediately by most. But anyone playing the "poor me" game for years on end after someone else's pain drove them to this decision are themselves incredibly selfish.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Romany

    I'm with tomict.
    I've witnessed many things in my life also, including a suicide.
    It's worse than hell to the family.
    It takes much, much more courage to live than it does to commit suicide.
    I'm empathetic to his family, but not to him.
    He chose to die, rather than to face his problems with self-respect, determination, and dignity.

    Condolences to his family, and to those he left behind to deal with his selfish decision.
    I am sorry they have to live with such a monumentally bad choice.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judgemental

      Why can he not have died with self-respect, determination, and dignity just because he chose when the moment he was ready to die?

      Would you rather he waited until his mindset perhaps drove him to go on a shooting spree?

      July 27, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • John Richardson

      @Romany YOUR att-itude is selfish and self-righteous. If the family can't forgive a person whose pain leads them to do something against all basic survival instinct, then they frankly deserve the hurt.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Sabina

      My 2 brothers were mentally ill when they ended their lives, not selfish or cowardly.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. lostson

    A lot of us have been there, my son ended his life 23 years ago at age 16, things do get easier but it will always be with you. Think of all the good memories, and be good to yourself...

    July 26, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • C

      I lost my brother 22 years ago at age 15 to suicide. It is lifelong and it is devestating in too many ways to count. People die in a million ways but this one is the most difficult for the friends and family to heal from. I wish his family, friends and admirers around the world, all the peace, love, and healing in the difficult days and years ahead. To anyone and everyone who is thinking of this selfish act....PLEASE STOP, LOOK AROUND YOU, READ a BOOK or WATCH A TRUE STORY or CONNECT IN SOME WAY WITH ""SOMEONE ELSE'S""" Extreme Loss and Tradgedy and HOW THEY MADE IT THROUGH IT!!! This will fuel you with a different perspective that ""We all face Hurts, Loss, Make Bad Dicissions at times...But it's like and you get up and Keep Going!!!! Email me for a Truely Beautiful Poem that will touch your heart and soul and let you know that with ALL Your Flaws.. YOU are PERFECT!!!

      July 27, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • C

      Please email me at Cindy@leadfirestorm.com for a beautiful Poem that will bring a CLEAR Perspective to your troubles. YOU are PERFECT!!!

      July 27, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • McKenna

      @Lostson. I'm so sorry for your loss. No matter how long ago it was, I'm sure that as a parent it always feels like yesterday. Thank you for sharing and God Bless.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Greenspam

    It's sad to see people commit suicide without getting help. The world has just lost another worthy individual.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bigwavedave

    R.I.P.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. ICUnurse

    People, there is help, and you don't have to give your family, your friends the pain of your death for the rest of their lives....if you knew how many times I've had failed suicide attempts as patients where they managed to give themselves liver failure when they took a bottle of Tylenol, or permanently brain damaged from attempted hangings or shooting themselves in the head but only taking out the part that lets them interact with the world....it's the worst thing you could do to those around them, for they will feel like they failed you for the rest of their lives, and suicides often occur in the survivors...get help, not a gun.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dr. Bombay

    ___ more American Gun MADNESS !! ___

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

      Would you feel better if he's jumped off a cliff or feel disappointed at a lost opportunity to espouse your opinions?

      Mexico has very strict gun laws. How's that working out?

      July 27, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. evil me

    Atheos5150:
    You are seriously delusional if you think the reason people commit suicide is because they think they're going to go to heaven....

    Miss Macy:
    Nope, *you're* the one who is insane...

    July 27, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Who are YOU to say who's insane? Think your going to heaven?????....NOPE

      July 27, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
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