|ESPN.com: Freestyle Skiing||[Print without images]|
|Jeret Peterson finished seventh overall in the men's aerials event Thursday.|
"I don't care where I would have ended up, if I had done a different trick, I would have walked away disappointed with myself," Peterson said. "That's what the Olympics are about. They're about going for it and being your best, not about ending up No. 1. The one thing I can say is I went for it." Coach Jeff Wintersteen said that Peterson, who was third overall after the first jump, needed at least 130 points to win -- by the nature of the scores from the first jumps -- something a jump with a double flip just wouldn't accomplish. "I was on the right side of the knoll, so I saw the hand drag and I knew it was sealed from that point," he said. "I knew we needed a buck thirty and that wasn't going to get us there. We were hoping to win the thing. We weren't really looking at anything else." Peterson, whose life has been nothing short of a hurricane, was looking to win with the one hurricane he could control. As a child growing up in Boise, Idaho, Peterson was sexually abused by a person he will not name. Like many abused children, Peterson thought he was at fault and kept the abuse a secret until 2003. In 1987, when he was 5 years old, his sister, Kim, was killed by a drunk driver. And last June, Peterson's roommate, Trevor "Trey" Fernald put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger as Peterson walked through Fernald's bedroom door. Peterson insists that the events in his life don't affect his skiing, but he was an angry kid. He threw tantrums. He got into trouble. He vented his rage by trying to dig holes to China in his backyard until a counselor helped him channel his energy in a more positive way. Since Peterson found skiing at the age of 7, when he earned his nickname by cutting lift lines to get to the top of the mountain as quickly as possible, he has lived for adrenaline. He gambles. He flies planes and sky dives. He ropes cattle at home in Boise. But mostly, he skis. "Doing the 'Hurricane' is like hitting on 20," he said. "I went for it, and unfortunately, I busted." But for Peterson, the outcome isn't really the point. It's the rush that comes from trying that matters. Lindsay Berra is a writer for ESPN The Magazine.