Boulder, CO, Aug. 6, 2001--Multi-talent Jeremy Bloom (Loveland, CO), an all-state player with a scholarship to the University of Colorado, decided Saturday to put college football on hold for a year while he takes a shot at earning a trip to the 2002 Olympics as a moguls skier.
"I finalized my decision today. I've gone back and forth all week," Bloom, 19 and a promising wide receiver, said following Media Day activities for the CU football team where he announced his decision. The reigning Nor Am moguls champion, he returned over the weekend from a U.S. Ski Team training camp in Chile...undecided about which path to take.
"I think the main part was the support here at The U," he said of his meeting Tuesday with Head Coach Gary Barnett and his staff. He explained he had been skiing well during the training camp in South America and felt he had an improved chance to make the Olympic Team for the Winter Games in February in Salt Lake City.
"I was worried about what the CU coaches would say, what my teammates and everyone would think. I knew they wanted me to play this year, so it was difficult to decide, but right from the start they said, 'We think this the Olympics is a great opportunity. No matter what you decide, we're going to be behind you.'
"It was a pleasant surprise and made me feel so much better. My head had been spinning," Bloom said. He will continue to practice for a week or so with the Buffs to better acquaint himself with Barnett's football system, but when classes begin, he'll rejoin the U.S. Ski Team for fall training camps. He plans to take at least one course next spring at CU so he can then rejoin the football team for spring practice.
Bloom said he had received no pressure from anyone, just total support for whatever decision he made. "It's been a tough road for me on the Ski Team, getting to a place where I felt comfortable being in the Olympics, but this has been so uplifting. In some ways, it was the best of times, the worst of times, but Coach Barnett's such a class guy and between the Ski Team and CU's football program, I feel blessed to be part of two great organizations."
Alan Ashley, VP-Athletics for the Ski Team, said he was pleased with Bloom's decision but also expressed his thanks for the understanding and patience from Barnett. "Obviously, this winter presents a great opportunity for Jeremy to follow his Olympic dream and we're very appreciative of the flexibility shown by Coach Barnett and everyone at CU," Ashley said. "We know CU will be in his corner this winter and he can be sure we'll all be pulling just as hard for him to succeed when Jeremy is playing ball for the Buffs."