Olympic freestyler Jeret Peterson dies of apparent suicide | ParkRecord.com

Olympic freestyler Jeret Peterson dies of apparent suicide

According to a press release from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, Olympic medalist Jeret "Speedy" Peterson of Boise, Idaho, died Monday as a result a self-inflicted gunshot wound near Salt Lake City.

The USSA statement characterizes Peterson as "a great champion" and "a true innovator in freestyle skiing." It also credits the skier with creating the groundbreaking "Hurricane," a five-twist and three-flip aerial maneuver that landed him a silver medal in Vancouver.

In the release, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt is quoted saying, "Today is a sad day for skiing. Jeret "Speedy" Peterson was a great champion who will be missed and remembered as a positive, innovative force on not only the sport of freestyle aerials, but on the entire U.S. Freestyle Ski Team family and everyone he touched."

Among his awards, Peterson, was named the Ski Racing Magazine 2001 Freestyle Junior of the Year and earned 15 World Cup podiums and seven victories in six years.

U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said fellow Olymians were "heartbroken" about the news. He added, "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. The personal challenges that 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."

According to the USSA, Peterson had not planned on competing during the 2012 season and was a full-time business student at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

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Memorial information will be available at a later time.