Olympic Medalist Peterson Commits Suicide

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SAM Magazine-Salt Lake City, July 27, 2011-Olympic silver medalist Jeret "Speedy" Peterson was found dead on Monday from what police are calling a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police found a suicide note near Peterson's car, but refused to reveal its contents.

Peterson's "Hurricane," a five-twist, three-flip aerial maneuver, propelled him to second place at the Vancouver Games. He had experienced problems with alcohol and depression and had admitted to thoughts of suicide.

"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 his sport of freestyle aerials, but on the entire U.S. Freestyle Ski Team family and everyone he touched," said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association president and CEO Bill Marolt.

Peterson, an 11 year member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, was one of the most accomplished freestyle aerialists in U.S. history compiling 15 World Cup podiums and seven victories in six years. In January of 2007, he won back-to-back World Cup victories, the second of which set a world record two-jump score of 268.70. The record still stands.

He earned the nickname "Speedy" from his coaches as a young boy when he kept cutting in line to get more jumps into the splash pool. Because of his big helmet, coaches decided he looked like cartoon character Speed Racer.

Memorial information will be available at a later time.

Photos of Peterson and a video of his record-setting 2007 performance are available at ussa.smugmug.com.