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Photo Courtesy of jeremybloom.com
America’s favorite bump skier/kick returner/topless model is heading back to the slopes. Jeremy Bloom, Olympian and one-time narrator of Warren Miller films, rejoined the U.S. Ski Team in Switzerland last month, and is attending the team’s fall camp in Colorado. A favorite of New York magazine editors—not to mention a love-struck Paris Hilton—for his mountain-man good looks and six-pack abs, Bloom left a lucrative skiing career, which included appearances in two Olympic Games, to pursue his childhood dream of playing football. A star kick returner and wide receiver for the University of Colorado Buffaloes, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL draft, but injuries limited his opportunity to perform. Released by the Eagles, Bloom was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers but got cut from training camp this summer. Unfortunately, at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, his size and speed weren’t quite enough to run with the world’s top gridiron athletes. But the 26-year-old is back on snow and setting his sights on the 2010 Olympic Games.
caught up with Bloom in between training exercises in Summit County, CO.
SkiNet: When did you get back on skis?
I went to Switzerland last month and joined the U.S. Ski Team in Zermatt. I did it under the radar. I hadn’t skied since the Olympics in Torino, but it felt good to be back. I jumped right into it—skiing the bumps on the first day. It was good.
SN: What’s your plan for this winter?
The coaches and I are taking things day to day. Today was our first day on snow up in Summit County, and I did a morning session at Keystone and will have a workout with the team this afternoon. I’m not trying to look too far ahead, just taking it one day at a time, bouncing around to wherever the best snow is. We’ll be moving between Copper and Keystone, and probably up at Steamboat later this month.
SN: But all that training must be leading somewhere. Do you hope to ski for the U.S. in the 2010 Games in Vancouver?
Certainly, that’s part of the motivation to make this first step. There are a lot of hurdles still to overcome. I’ll be excited and happy if it does work out. I love the Olympics, and with Vancouver being so close to home, performing in front of my friends and family would be great.
SN: What triggered the decision to leave the NFL?
It was a much harder decision than I anticipated. I didn’t want to sit on a practice squad anymore. Still, I was very cognizant that my decision to go back to skiing could be one I was making because it was the path of least resistance. It was something I already knew. I wanted to answer some questions in my life and be honest with myself. At the end of the day, I wasn’t quite ready to walk away from skiing altogether. The Ski Team gave me the opportunity to come back, and the coaches and I are on the same page about what I’m doing.
SN: What did learn from the NFL?
It was a tremendous challenge, and challenges like that provide an opportunity to learn for any athlete. The training was top notch. It helped me progress mentally and physically.
SN: A lot of people say the biggest difference between college and the NFL is how hard NFL players tackle. What it was like to get hit?
It wasn’t a big deal for me. I’ve been skiing since age three and I’ve taken some big hits skiing. Not to mention the hits I took in college. It just felt like football to me.
SN: Professional mogul skiing has some new rules and looks to be evolving. How has the event changed since you left?
I was surprised watching from afar at the lack of progression, actually. The top three finishers on the World Cup last year did the same tricks people were doing in 2006. I thought that was an open door for me. The emphasis is back on the turns and the line. I like that moves made by the FIS to make that the case. So I don’t think it’s changed that much. I have some catching up to do. That’s one of the hurdles.
SN: You’ve appeared in Warren Miller movies before and even narrated the film for two years. Is big-mountain skiing an aspect of the sport you’d like to get back to as well?
It is. I love it. I had my first opportunity with Warren Miller at 12. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It’s something I definitely look forward to getting back to.
SN: Do you have any regrets about leaving football?
Looking back on my experience in the NFL, I feel so fortunate and blessed to have played with such great organizations as the Steelers and the Eagles. On the flip side, I didn’t accomplish my goals, and that was disappointing. But the experience was a dream come true.
SN: When is the next time we’ll see you in a competition?
To be determined. We’re not far in the game plan. That will get answered in a few weeks, most likely. For now, it’s one day at a time.