ON MONDAY, UTAH POLICE responded to a 911 call from Jeret Peterson, the award-winning aerial skier, who gave his location and told them he was going to kill himself, but he died before they reached him. He was 29.
The three time Olympian and seven time World Cup competitor from Boise, Idaho, was famous for his signature five spin, three flip jump, the Hurricane. He also holds the record for the highest 2-jump score, 268.7 points.
The New York Times reports a series of traumatic events in the young skiers life; Peterson’s younger sister was killed by a drunk driver, he said he had been a victim of sexual abuse, and in 2005 he watched a roommate kill himself.
In an interview with the newspaper, he said he suffered from depression and “covered it up with a lot of alcohol.”
During the 2006 Olympics, Peterson was in second place and attempted the Hurricane. A less than perfect landing put him in 7th place and he was later asked to leave the games for punching a friend. After that, he had an off again on again relationship with the sport until 2010, when he asked to join the Olympic team. He traveled to Vancouver where he became a come back kid, winning the silver after finishing 7th four years earlier.
Peterson, who said of his Olympic win, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel and mine was silver,” may be remembered for his struggles with mental health but the Olympian will also have a legacy for his performance as a skier, and his Hurricane.