Speedy Peterson Nails His Hurricane, Lands Aerials Silver

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Anybody who watched the 2006 Olympics in Torino should remember Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, the fast-living aerialist known equally for his off-hill carousing as his on-hill brilliance. Before the Torino Games Peterson created the Hurricane, a five-twist-three-flip trick that's stunning even when it fails, and vowed to pull one during his Olympic run. After a hurricane-less first run, Peterson was in silver-medal position; all he had to do was nail a nice, conservative jump and that silver was guaranteed. But Speedy kept his word and pulled a Hurricane, only to flub the landing -- the judges, perhaps miffed at his arrogance, pushed Peterson into an insignificant 7th place. That night Peterson partied hard, punched a friend, and almost got arrested; he was asked to leave Torino the next day. It was the beginning of two darks years for the athlete, who lost endorsements, quit his sport, and went back to construction work. Four years later, a sober and more gentle Peterson was selected for this year's Vancouver Games. But his on-hill persona is no less stunning. On Thursday, after a relatively vanilla first jump landed him in fifth place, Peterson lined up for a Hurricane repeat -- and nailed it. The jump was good enough to push him into silver, behind Belarussian Alexei Grishin, who won his country's first Winter Olympic gold. Once again, the Olympic spirit has rewritten the script and pushed its champions higher and harder. Welcome back, Speedy.