Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Speedy's" life comes to a screeching halt: Former Olympian, Jeret Peterson, takes his own life

Natalie Morales, an anchor of NBC's Today Show, had a more personal relationship with Jeret Peterson, after interviewing him multiple times. She got to know him through his glory, as well as through his troubles.

In one of their chilling interviews, Peterson, 29, claims that he's been through a lot recently, including battling issues with "depression and suicide..."

Was this an omen? All we know is that these demons that plagued him finally took their toll.

In the 2010 Vancouver games, this accomplished skier won a silver medal in the freestyle aerials, after performing his signature move, The Hurricane.

After receiving his medal, he said:

"I've really changed things around in the last three and a half years. This is my medal for everything I've overcome and I'm ecstatic."

After reaching fame in 2006 he had a downward spiral of issues that included criminal offenses and mental struggles.

He vowed to change his ways after some reckless actions, including alcohol abuse and a bar fight he got into the night that he competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

"He said he rebuilt his life and jumping career by giving up alcohol and by coming to grips with demons he had carried through adulthood — a good friend had committed suicide in front of him in 2005, and his 5-year-old sister had been killed by a drunken driver," according to an article by the New York Times.

Clearly, he has not had an easy ride.

Suicide was a black cloud that seemed to hover over him. He contemplated killing himself after losing a reported $550,000 in BlackJack. Those were not his only money troubles. In the following years, he was essentially broke from giving a lot of his money away and investing in the Real Estate market.

The Friday before his self-inflicted death, Peterson was arrested in Hailey for speeding and driving while intoxicated. This in itself would destroy his new image that he worked so hard to maintain. Maybe he did not want to face his fans and those who believed in him?

This past Monday, Peterson was found dead in a distant canyon in Utah from a self inflicted gunshot wound, according to The Guardian. Before Peterson killed himself, he called 911 to tell them where he was. The New York Times reports that, "The police said his body was found between Salt Lake City and Park City, and a suicide note was found near his car."

People all over the nation are mourning his death, especially the world of sports.

“Today is a sad day in our sport,”

Bill Marolt, the chief executive officer of the United States Ski Team, said about the tragedy.

“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.”

Mental struggle is far worse than any physical pain, and you will never know unless you have struggled with them yourself.

When I saw this, all I could think was that he must have been so troubled to put a gun to his head. It is very tragic, that such a promising and young individual, felt that the world would be better off without him. That his life was too agonizing to go on another day.

Rest In Peace, Jeret.