RIP Jeret 'Speedy' Peterson

Kel Verbiest Kel Verbiest

It’s been an interesting month so far in world news and the sad fact is that we have to report another death.

The skiing world was in mourning today as news broke of Jeret Peterson‘s death. He was the creator of the ‘hurricane’, a five-twist and three-flip aerial maneuver that landed him a silver medal in Vancouver and that’s what we’ll all remember him for.

Peterson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Although aerial skiing isn’t something that we cover on Mpora, Jeret was a big name in the US Freestyle ski team and he’s a source of inspiration to many of the freeskiers you see today. He was one of the big names at the Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006 as he entered the fray with a cocky swagger that seem to endear him to all the spectators. With the invention of his new trick, he stole the show!

However, certain athletes have the rise and fall effect and Peterson was pretty much the epitome of this phrase. In 2005 he was at a party with one of his best friends and things went from bad to worse. His friend took his own life with Peterson watching and it’s something that has never left him. This all happened a few months before Turin kicked off so it was always something fresh in his memory. He then battled with alcoholism, depression and his own emotions as he attempted to take his own life. Despite help from his family and friends he was on a path to self-destruction.

Skip forward two years and by 2007 he was still an alcoholic and was gambling, pretty much full time, in Las Vegas. He gambled until he won hundreds of thousands of dollars but ultimately he would lose them all. He became suicidal. He received help from the University Neuropsychiatric Institute in Salt Lake City and seem to be on the mend. After a botched suicide attempt and more help from the UNI, he stopped taking his medication and became more involved in his psychiatry. No one checked his drinking though. It seems that even though he was progressing with his mental state, his alcoholism was still pretty bad. Even though he’d made the US Freeski Team for Vancouver, the main impact he would have would be in 2011.

“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.

He was a world champ and a huge character in the world of skiing.
RIP Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson.

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