Aerial skier Jeret "Speedy" Peterson was found dead in a remote canyon Monday night in Utah. Police said the 29-year-old Olympic silver-medalist's death was a suicide.
"He called 911 and said he was going to kill himself, " a police department spokesman said in a statement. The three-time Olympian also left a suicide note in his car.
On Friday, Peterson was cited for drunken driving in Hailey, Idaho and pleaded not guilty. His struggles with alcoholism and longtime depression were well known. In an interview with Men's Journal published in Feb. 2010, Peterson said matter-of-factly: "Things have been going wrong for me since the day I was born."
In 2005, Peterson's 5-year-old sister was killed by a drunken driver, and a close friend committed suicide in front of him. "I looked at him straight in the eyes, he looked me square in the eyes — then pulled the trigger," he recalled.
But despite his personal struggles, Peterson will be remembered for his athletic accomplishments. "Today is a sad day in our sport," Bill Marolt, the chief executive officer of the United States Ski team, said in a statement. "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."
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