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Bloom Leads American Sweep in Men's Moguls

PARK CITY, Utah Jan. 27, 2005 (AP by Doug Alden) - Jeremy Bloom was on top of the podium surrounded by his American teammates - right where he wants to be for the next Olympic Games.

Bloom, the former University of Colorado receiver who gave up football to concentrate on skiing and the Turin Olympics, led a U.S. sweep in men's moguls Thursday with his first freestyle World Cup victory of the season.

``Hopefully we can duplicate this in February 2006,'' Bloom said.

Bloom lost an NCAA appeal to allow him to continue to play college football while receiving endorsements for his skiing. Bloom hasn't forgotten football - his helmet is painted gold with the CU buffalo emblem on the sides and his former No. 15.

Bloom overtook qualifying leader Toby Dawson with a faster and more difficult final run, completing a 720-degree turn off both jumps on the Champion course at Deer Valley, and finished with a score of 27.05. Nathan Roberts of Park City placed second (26.18) and Dawson, skiing with a broken bone in his foot, placed third (25.79).

It was the second American moguls sweep this season. Dawson won three weeks before at Mont Tremblant in Canada, edging Bloom and overall moguls leader Luke Westerlund. After breaking the bone in his foot two weeks ago, Dawson was thrilled to be on the podium again after struggling to cross his skis during his jumps.

``It's the best when you come down and you pull a sweep. It doesn't happen too often,'' Dawson said. ``The U.S. team keeps doing it and it's really amazing to do that.''

It was a big day for the Americans. U.S. skier Michelle Roark won her first World Cup freestyle event in six years and American teamate Hannah Kearney placed third (25.04) in women's moguls. Margarita Marbler of Austria was second (25.30).

Roark hadn't won on the World Cup circuit since 1999, but ended the drought on the same hill where she tore up her knee in 2000. The former figure skater stuck a back flip off the first kicker and was clean the rest of the way, finishing with a score of 25.34.

``I actually went down on this course and it put me out for three years. So it's cool to come back and stomp it on this course,'' said Roark, who fell in a training run earlier Thursday.

Roark placed second in the 2003 World Championship moguls two years ago at Deer Valley. The American women are doing back flips in competition for the first time this season, adding to the degree of difficulty.

``Once you get over that fear, it's not that difficult of a trick,'' Kearney said.

American Jillian Vogtli led after qualifying, but slipped early in her final run and nearly veered off course. She finished 13th.

Bloom won his fifth World Cup event by getting the highest air scores of the day. Bloom completed a 720-degree ``iron cross'' (crossing his skis behind him as he twisted in the air) and an off-axis 720 on the bottom jump. Bloom also won the 2003 dual moguls World Championship on the same hill.

U.S. skier Travis Mayer, the overall moguls leader and silver medalist in the 2002 Winter Olympics, did not qualify for the finals. He had a good line going through the course, but was off balance on both landings and was 31st after qualifying.

Westerlund, second overall in the moguls standings, was having a good first run but couldn't stick his landing after the kicker and somersaulted down the hill, losing his skis. America's Landon Gardner had the fall of the day, tumbling just before the end and rolling across the finish line, raising his arms as he got back up on his remaining ski.

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press

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