A ball of energy who went all in to everything he did, his tender spirit allowed him to befriend anyone. Jeret “Speedy” Peterson was always able to entertain himself and others…he was always the first to introduce himself to the new kid in school and was a protector of those who were picked on…but the smile was a mask. He once told Men’s Journal magazine “things have been going wrong for me since the day I was born.” He was in counseling, and even had prescriptions to help, but he didn’t know what prescriptions he could use while competing as a Freestyle Skier. The stress of Olympic athletics is hard on anyone, often causing depression and let down after the season is over. Along with this, Jeret was fighting other demons on a consistent basis, including witnessing the suicide of a friend. He couldn’t sleep at night because that was all he could see. He just couldn’t get away from the pain of all his experiences and on July 25, 2011, at the age of 29, Jeret took his own life. His family has created The Speedy Foundation to support education and outreach and to educate young athletes and their peers as well as engage advocacy groups to increase awareness of mental illness and suicide prevention.
This portrait received funding to go home to his family. A copy of Jeret's portrait continues to travel with Jessica and the Words Matter exhibit.