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. CDaeda

    The world around you is a state of mind. Change your state of mind to something better like tuning a TV.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Billy Goat

    My thoughts and prayers go out not only to his family, but to the gold medalist who denied him of his fully glory as a speed skater. What a tragedy.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • MyOwnObservation

      it wasn't speed skating knucklehead it was freestyle

      July 27, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Billy Goat


    July 27, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. KC


    July 27, 2011 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. money isn't everything

    people commite suicide why? love loss , money loss love and money is the two reasons...soldiers commite suicide rather than captured? why? they are going to die and cannot take the torture...same with people who commit suicide,,they can bear the loss or PAIN..death is painless. don't commit suicide if you don't have to.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hoofleau

    Something is wrong when the young people kill themselves with suicide and drug overdoses. I wish I, as an older person, could do something to help. So sad. It is hard to be happy in your own skin in this day and time. Peace!

    July 27, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. money isn't everything

    people who commit suicide are wimps..they can't face reality and the PAIN of loss. get drunk or whatever. or he was killed for insurance? life insurance doesn't pay if he commited suicide.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nuclear Threat

    very sad 🙁

    July 27, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. money isn't everything

    Why did he commit suicide?

    July 27, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • KC

      So hard to know. My sweet uncle killed himslf when I was a Junior in High School. You do your best to figure out what happened and what you might have done better. It breaks your heart a million ways for a million years...

      July 27, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. money isn't everything

    there was this guy who killed his boss after getting fired from his job...do that is same as suicide now he is in prison. so don't fire anyone unless you have to...depressed people who are finanically in trouble are ticking time bombs. it's just one trigger to spark the gun...mentally unstable. people like that are emotionally weak.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Camarones

      sometimes you have to fire people, that's the thing. but you shouldn't feel scared to do it if you do it by the book, do it professionally and with some compassion.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
    • lolers

      Fired with compassion. Look up the word compassion. Fake empathy is what you mean. True compassion wouldn't allow you to fire them at all....At the very least you would demote them to a job they could handle or lower your expectations etc.....Fired with compassion, dream on.

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

      Yes fire or terminate with compassion, understanding. You must have been fired for your screwups and you are still angry about it. You were, weren't you?

      July 27, 2011 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. money isn't everything

    as for women commit suicide of love loss ,men commmite sucide because of money loss? the pain or sadness of loss they cannot handle the pain.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. money isn't everything

    probably has nothing to live for...people have reason to live don't commit suicide... anyway tax and death is the only certainty in life...we all die sooner or later as mortals.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. kat

    it's sad that this boy decided suicide as the way. there's no real way to know what he was going through 🙁

    July 27, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. money isn't everything

    anyone considering suicide needs to join the army in the frontlines in the afghanistan war.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. money isn't everything

    killed in action is much better ...suicide is waste...

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