An excerpt from SnoWorld magazine 2010.
Jeremy Bloom was just your typical Colorado kid-until he was 15, anyway. That's when he became the youngest member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, and he's lived a charmed athletic life ever since. Never mind that he's a three-time World Champion mogul skier; Bloom is perhaps best known for his legal struggles with the NCAA, the famously byzantine organization that forced to abandon his role as a star wide receiver and punt returner with the University of Colorado football team because he was simultaneously pursuing a spot at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games as a sponsored skier. In the years since, Bloom has quit skiing, played in the NFL, started a business and a charity, and finally returned to skiing. We caught up with him as he was gearing up for a shot at his third Olympic Team and the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
How did growing up in Colorado shape who you are?
Growing up here was everything. I went to a normal high school with a great football program and then on weekends, two hours away, was fantastic, world-class skiing. The landscape alone made me. I'm a Colorado native, and for the few people who get to say that it always feels like a sacred title.
Do you consider yourself a Colorado lifer?
Absolutely. My friends are here. My family is here.
We heard that after the '06 Winter Games, you left all your ski gear in your hotel room in order to make it to the NFL camps on time. Did you think your skiing career was over at that point?
Yes. I thought I was completely done.
Yet here you are, training for your third Olympic team. If you qualify for Vancouver, do you think any of the shine will have come off being an Olympian?
Oh yea. It's not that I've lost any admiration for the Games. They're still the Olympics. But you go through a progression as an athlete. When I was 12, I thought the Games were the pinnacle of achievement, but the magic of that has changed. It doesn't occupy as much of my passion as it used to. That doesn't mean I'm going to slack - I've always been very goal-driven, so getting after it will come back pretty easily.
You have a reputation for involved training practices. What's the strongest thing you've done to train?
When I was preparing for the 2002 Olympics, I was living in the basement of my trainer's house, and I would have him do things such as wake me up at one in the morning so I could hike a mountain or go through a helacious plyometrics routine. I wanted to learn how to do my best when I felt my worst.
Your pro football career lasted two seasons and featured short stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now that it's over, how do you see your time in the NFL?
If I could change anything, I would have started training for football earlier. The way it went down, I flew from the Torino Olympics directly to the football combine. Before the NCAA ruling, I was bouncing back and forth between sports and it was easier to stay healthy. But when I went from skiing directly to into football it was hard on my body. At training camp, you sprint about 10 miles a week. My body couldn't handle the switch. I tore my hamstring my rookie season. Then I broke my toe the next training camp and struggled the rest of the way. But just the experience of being on a team, of working with those guys, I wouldn't trade that for any gold medal in the world.
Explain your Wish-of-a-Lifetime Foundation.
It's the most important thing I've done in my life. I started it about a year and a half ago. The goal is to enrich the lives of low-income seniors, to grant them a wish. Sometimes these are simple but incredibly meaningful wishes. We flew one woman from her home in Colorado to Arizona so she could spend time with her daughter who is dying of cancer. Right now we have a woman who wants to go skydiving, and we're working with the Air Force to make it happen.
Last question. Eagles are playing the Steelers: Who do you root for? The Broncos?
That's a tough question. I'll tell you this. The Steelers have the best organization and head coach in all of sports. Philly has the craziest fans. And the Broncos had the best quarterback in history.
Thank you for your measured response, Mr. Senator.