According to reports, Peterson shot himself in the head outside of his car, off Interstate 80 in Lambs Canyon, Utah, east of Salt Lake City, on Monday night, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Before shooting himself, Peterson left a suicide note and had called 911 to alert them of his location.
Peterson has been battling with depression, gambling and alcoholism he once said in an interview the Men’s Journal, and “Things have been going wrong for me since the day I was born.”
He struggled to stay sober for years and had attempted suicide at least once before, was arrested in Idaho last week and charged with misdemeanor drunk driving.
The skiing community has expressed their shock over his death. Peter was a true innovator in the sport. He landed the silver in Vancouver with a daring five -twist and three-flip aerial maneuver called the ‘Hurricane.’
CEO of the US Olympic Committee, Mr. Scott Blackmun said, “The entire Olympic family is heartbroken to hear the news of Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson’s untimely passing, 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.”
Blackmun also went on to say, “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.”
Peterson had not planned on competing in the upcoming 2012 ski season and had been working toward a business degree at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
Through the 2006 season, Peterson had won four World Cup events in aerials, and a total of nine World Cup podiums. His best season was 2005, with three World Cup wins and three seconds. With the help of these six strong placing, he took the 2005 World Cup season title in aerials. He finished in sixth place for the 2006 season.
A member of three Olympic teams, he participated in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake (placing 9th) and the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy. In the finals of the 2006 aerial competitions, Peterson was in third place after the first round, but fell to seventh place after the second jump, when he failed to solidly land the difficult “Hurricane” maneuver, which involves five spins and three somersaults.
The following day February 24, 2006, he was dispatched from the Games after a drunken altercation during a post-competition celebration. U.S. Olympic official Jim McCarthy said, “This type of conduct is irresponsible and will not be tolerated. Like every athlete, Jeret had an opportunity to represent himself, his sport, and his country in a positive manner. He chose to do otherwise, and because of his unacceptable actions, his Olympic experience is ending early.”
A month after the Olympics in Italy, Peterson won the 2006 U.S. National Championships at Killington, Vermont.
He was an alumnus of Timberline High School in Boise, and was one of the six athletes featured on the Week 6 episode of The Biggest Loser: Couples 3.
After a tumultuous four years on and off the snow following the 2006 Olympics, Peterson made a career comeback and in January 2010 was named to the U.S. Olympic freestyle team for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Entering the Olympic finals in fifth place, he successfully landed his signature “Hurricane” maneuver (5 twists, 3 flips) to win the silver medal.