Olympic Skier Kills Himself After DUI Bust

US ski team mourns Jeret 'Speedy' Peterson
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2011 1:21 AM CDT
Updated Jul 27, 2011 5:00 AM CDT
Jeret Peterson celebrates his Olympic silver medal in the men's freestyle aerials final at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.   (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky, File)
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(Newser) – Olympic silver medalist skier Jeret "Speedy" Peterson shot himself in an isolated canyon near Salt Lake City just days after he was arrested for drunk driving, police say. He apparently left a suicide note. The 29-year-old freestyle skier had long battled alcohol and depression. He was sent home from the 2006 Turin Olympics after a bar fight, but won silver in the men's freestyle aerials at last year's games in Vancouver with his signature five-twist and three-flip "hurricane" jump.

"I know that a lot of people go through a lot of things in their life, and I just want them to realize they can overcome anything," he said after winning the medal. "There's light at the end of the tunnel and mine was silver and I love it." Longtime coach Matt Christensen says athletes like Peterson only come along once in a career. "Regardless of the amazing stuff he did skiing, it was the stuff he did for other people that was incredible to me," he tells AP. "A lot of people saw his story and said he must be a wild jackass and a cowboy. He was just the opposite." (Click to read about Peterson's tough childhood.)

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