February 25, 2006

US skier kicked out after fight

TURIN (Reuters) - U.S. freestyle skier Jeret Peterson has
been expelled from the Winter Olympics after getting into a
fight, U.S. officials said on Saturday.

Peterson, who finished seventh in the freestyle skiing
aerials on Thursday despite completing one of the most
difficult jumps, was sent home early after "an altercation with
an acquaintance from the United States," the U.S. Olympic
Committee said in a statement.

U.S. officials could not be reached for immediate comment
on the incident. Italian authorities will not pursue charges
against the 24-year-old from Boise, Idaho, the U.S. committee

"This type of conduct is irresponsible and will not be
tolerated," U.S. Olympic team official Jim McCarthy said in the

"Like every athlete, Jeret had an opportunity to represent
himself, his sport and his country in a positive manner,"
McCarthy said.

"He chose to do otherwise, and because of his unacceptable
actions, his Olympic experience is ending early."

In Thursday's competition, Peterson performed a jump he
calls "The Hurricane" -- three head-over-heels flips and five
twists in the air. It had a degree of difficulty of 4.9 points,
significantly higher than the jumps of any of his competitors.

The judges penalized him for a poor landing and he finished

Peterson's life has been marked by tragedy. When he was
five, his sister was killed by a drunk driver. Three years ago,
Peterson revealed he was sexually abused as a child and has
been in therapy to deal with it.

Last June, Peterson's room mate shot himself dead in front
of the skier.