(Adds comment from U.S. Olympic Committee and Utah
By James Nelson
SALT LAKE CITY, July 26 Olympic silver medalist
skier Jeret "Speedy" Peterson has committed suicide near Salt
Lake City, days after his arrest on suspicion of drunken
driving, police said on Tuesday.
Peterson, 29, was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound
on Monday night, shortly after he had called emergency dispatch
to say he was going to kill himself, said Lieutenant Justin
Hoyal, a spokesman for Unified Police of Greater Salt Lake.
He was a silver medalist in the men's freestyle aerials
competition at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.
Peterson's body was found beside his vehicle on a road just
outside Salt Lake City, Hoyal said. Police said he left a
suicide note, but they declined to reveal the contents of the
Peterson's death on Monday came three days after the Olympic
athlete was arrested in Idaho on suspicion of misdemeanor
drunken driving. He was released from the Blaine County Jail in
Idaho after posting $500 bail.
He had been arrested after speeding in a Dodge Dakota pickup
through Hailey on Friday, in south-central Idaho, at an
estimated 70 miles per hour -- over the local speed limit of 25
mph -- police said.
He failed three field sobriety tests, including a walk and
turn and a one-leg stand, according to a police report.
Peterson pleaded not guilty in paperwork filed by his
attorney to the charge of driving under the influence and the
Originally from Boise, Idaho, he most recently lived in the
ski haven of Park City, Utah. He had not planned on competing
during the 2012 season and was a full-time business student at
Westminster College in Salt Lake City, according to the U.S. Ski
and Snowboard Association.
Peterson gained the nickname "Speedy" because coaches
thought he resembled the cartoon character "Speed Racer" when
wearing his helmet, the association said.
He invented his signature jump the "Hurricane", a five-twist
and three-flip maneuver that landed him the silver medal in
"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," U.S. Olympic
Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement.
"The personal challenges 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," Blackmun
Peterson's behavior at times got him in trouble with the law
and sports officials. In 2006, he was sent home from Italy's
Turin Winter Olympics after a fight, according to the U.S. Ski
and Snowboard Association.
Peterson was found guilty in 2008 of public urination in
Boise and in 2006 he pleaded guilty to theft by receiving stolen
property, according to Idaho court records.
(Additional reporting by Laura Zuckerman, writing by Alex
Dobuzinskis: Editing by Peter Bohan and Ossian Shine)