Nick Goepper said he had suicidal thoughts after winning an Olympic ski slopestyle bronze medal in Sochi in February 2014.
“That summer of 2014, I really experienced this, like, emotional distress. And it really just started to slide emotionally,” Goepper said in an X Games interview published Saturday. “There came a point where I was drinking every day, and I was constantly thinking about ways to end my own life.
“I was, like, flirting, with that idea. I wasn’t ballsy or committed enough to actually do it. It was like a really messed up way of saying help me, but without saying it to a friend or a family member.”
Goepper, the pre-Sochi favorite, immersed himself in appearances and activities immediately after being part of the U.S. Olympic podium sweep with Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy.
Goepper’s attorney said he suffered from anxiety and depression when he threw rocks at cars in his native Indiana in August 2014, causing $8,000 in damage, according to a Cincinnati TV station.
“He called one night, and he said, ‘Mom, I’m thinking about going to get a bottle of vodka and go sit in my car in Lambs Canyon [Utah] and drink the whole thing,’” his mom, Linda, said in the X Games video. “Lambs Canyon was where another skier had committed suicide [2010 Olympic aerials silver medalist Jeret “Speedy” Peterson in 2011]. I knew that Nick was in trouble.”
Goepper, who won his third straight X Games title in January 2015 and dislocated a shoulder the next month, said he attended rehab in Texas for two months in fall 2015.
He was 11th at X Games in 2016 and 2017 but came back this season to become the first American to qualify for the Olympic men’s slopestyle team.
“We almost lost Nick,” Goepper’s dad, Chris, said. “He almost killed himself, so it doesn’t get any lower than that.”
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