Skier's death reverberates in Steamboat

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Jeret "Speedy" Peterson

— Jeret “Speedy” Peterson never trained in Steamboat, but news Tuesday that he died Monday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound near Salt Lake City rattled all of the freestyle skiing community, local skiers said.

“It was distributing news. … Freestyle skiing is an individual sport, but we’re all one big family,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle coach Rob Day said. “It’s brothers and sisters, in a way. These kids all spend so much time together, especially those guys out in Utah, they’re all some of your best friends and you’re with them every day, every moment, every hour.”

Peterson never called Steamboat home, but the Boise, Idaho, skier always managed to make himself at home when competing on the slopes here. He placed 13th in a World Cup event in Steamboat in 2003, and was second in the U.S. Olympics Trails in December 2005.

He recorded his best finish in Steamboat four years later, winning the U.S. Olympic Trials on a snowy December 2009 day. He held off Lowell Whiteman School graduate Ryan St. Onge for the victory, with the two American aces wowing a large Mount Werner crowd with a thrilling duel.

Peterson competed in three Olympics, placing ninth in Salt Lake City in 2002, seventh in Torino, Italy, in 2006, and reaching one of the pinnacles of his career in 2010, when he earned an Olympic silver medal with his trademark trick, the Hurricane, at Cypress Mountain, British Columbia.

Another career highlight came in 2007, when he won back-to-back World Cup competitions and in doing so set a still-standing, two-jump world scoring record of 268.70.

“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,” U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt said in prepared statement.

The release said Peterson had retired from the sport and was a full-time business student at a Salt Lake City college.

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

runnerbikerdriver44 3 years, 4 months ago

Greenwash-suicide is a difficult to live with, just like an additction to drugs and alcohol. Until you have been through the struggles of depression, you will never understand. If you feel so strongly about suicide, maybe you should offer your time to volunteer to assist people who are going through depression. Have compassion, and try not to judge people in situations you could never understand.

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David Wilson 3 years, 4 months ago

Very sad news. Condolences to the Peterson family. Life after the Olympics can be difficult for some athletes. This link tells how Olympic Gold Medalist snowboarder Kelly Clark reacted after she won her first medal: http://btumorethangold.org/athletes/Kelly-Clark.aspx.

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greenwash 3 years, 4 months ago

Runner - Hate to tell you I have experienced struggles and family suicide.....AND SUICIDE IS NOT THE ANSWER....AND YES I suppoprt REPS LOCALLY....FUNDRAISER COMING UP SOON hope to see you there.HELP is out there.....THX though and good luck !

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runnerbikerdriver44 3 years, 4 months ago

Okay greenwash. I am sorry for your losses. The reason for my response is because I too have had people close to me commit suicide as well. Saying, "suicide is not the answer," isn't really helpful. Maybe, as someone who is an advocate for suicide prevention, you could have posted ways for people who are struggling to find help. Being negative and putting that sort of response up doesn't help anyone, especially people who are struggling with the loss of a friend who took their own life.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

A permanent solution to a temporary problem. My childhood friends' mom commited suicide when he was 8. Messed him up, worse for his sister who ended up in prison and his dad, her husband, died young. Nothing good or funny about it.

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