Thursday, February 23, 2006
America's last hope for a gold in men's freestyle aerials came in seventh here today, but his smile was that of a winner.
Jeret "Speedy" Peterson "did the hurricane."
To "do" Peterson's signature trick takes a jump of 50 feet above the ramp. It includes five twists inside three somersaults, completed in three seconds of air time. It is the toughest trick of the trade.
Peterson handled it beautifully, but he didn't nail the landing, losing points when he had to use his right hand to keep from sitting down.
He was hoping that being the first aerialist to successfully nail a hurricane in Olympic competition would win him a medal.
Instead, because of the landing problem, medals went to China, Belarus, and Russia.
Han Xiaopeng of China took the gold, Dmitry Dashinski of Belarus the silver and Vladimir Lebedev of Russia won the bronze.
None of this dampened Peterson's spirit, however.
"It's great. It's awesome. I love it," Peterson said of his time at the Olympics. "It gets my adrenaline going. It's absolutely everything I love about freestyle aerials. It's the one thing in my heart that I can't find anywhere else."