“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,” “There’s light at the end of the tunnel and mine was silver and I love it.” – Jeret Peterson
When word broke of Jeret “Speedy” Peterson’s death this past Wednesday, a hush fell over the ski community. It has been now been confirmed that Peterson, the U.S. freestyle skier who recently won the silver medal in freestyle aerials at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, shot himself in a canyon near Salt Lake City, Utah. On Monday, Peterson had made a call to 911 before he took his life. At only 29 years old, our “Speedy” has left us too soon.
Bill Marlot, the President and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) said, “It 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.”
Paterson got the nickname “Speedy” from his coaches when he was young from continuously cutting in line in order to get more jumps into the splash pool. Also, due to his big helmet, he resembled the iconic character of Speed Racer. His speediness and skills landed him as was a member of three Olympic and four World Championship Teams.
Since Wednesday, the ski community and supporters have been Facebooking and Tweeting their sorrows over Peterson’s death.
“Deeply saddened by the loss of Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson. That guy could fly. Depression is a nasty bitch.” - Mike Douglas, The Godfather of Freeskiing
“Speedy I will miss you, rest in peace my friend.” -Lindsey Vonn, U.S. Ski Team
“The world lost an amazing person this week. Despite his own hardships, he was always there to make us smile or help us through a hard day, to pick us up when we were down, or to make us laugh our way through a long travel day. Words simply can not express how much we will miss Speedy.” -Emily Cook, U.S. Ski Teammate
“Regardless of the amazing stuff he did skiing, it was the stuff he did for other people that was incredible to me. A lot of people saw his story and said he must be a wild jackass and a cowboy. He was just the opposite.” -Matt Christensen, Coach and friend
Jeret “Speedy” Peterson Facebook page
There will be a memorial service for Jeret Peterson at 3 PM on August 6, 2011 in the Boise State University Student Union Ball Room. There is also a Park City Memorial Service scheduled on August 13 at City Park Stage.
Rest in peace, Jeret. Hope the mountains in heaven can handle all your aerials.