World Cup Freestyle: Jeremy Bloom set for return to skiing circuit
Sun News Service
Just how much pressure Jeremy Bloom will be experiencing before his run in the Vista Freestyle International World Cup this morning at Deer Valley Resort is anybody’s guess.
The former World Cup freestyle series champion and National Football League player has been granted a starting spot in today’s moguls event and Saturday’s dual moguls contest. If Bloom doesn’t produce respectable results, his World Cup season could be over soon after it starts.
After this weekend’s event, U.S. coaches are expected to determine which of their athletes will compete in the remaining World Cup events, according to Sho Kashima, a third-year team member.
Bloom resurrected his freestyle skiing career in the fall after ending a three-year attempt to carve out an NFL career.
His return to the U.S. team hasn’t been embraced by everyone, especially with the deep-and-talented American team limited to World Cup spots and the Winter Games a year away.
“I don’t want to be the guy who rips on him,” said Kashima, who topped the Americans with a fourth-place result last Saturday in Quebec. “I see both sides. Everyone on the team has become pretty close, and I see their pain, not getting starts because Bloom’s back.”
Bloom was unavailable for comment.
Kashima traveled with Bloom on the NorAm circuit between a long break in World Cup events. He said Bloom had a second-place qualifying run in one event, but has been troubled by coming out of his skis in his other two performances.
The 26-year-old Bloom’s freestyle career is missing just one piece of hardware: an Olympic medal. Bloom has captured three world championships, and in 2005 he generated the most dominant streak in World Cup moguls history by winning six straight events. In the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy, Bloom finished sixth, then the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder moved on to a pro football career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.
“The thing about Jeremy is he’s a natural athlete. He has a lot of talent a lot of experience that a lot of people on tour don’t have,” said Travis Cabral, Bloom’s close friend and former teammate.
Cabral is at Deer Valley to watch Bloom’s return to the World Cup circuit. While Bloom moved on to an NFL career after the 2006 Olympics, Cabral retired from competitive skiing with a World Cup overall title and an Olympic appearance and became a South Lake Tahoe police officer.
“There really aren’t people saying there is a lot of pressure on him,” Cabral said. “He went from being one of the top athletes on the team, to playing pro football and coming back to skiing.”
As for Kashima, the South Shore bump skier may have found his 2007 form just in time to fill one of the team’s spots for the remaining World Cup events.
“I want to do well every week that I’m going to get in the gate,” Kashima said. “I don’t want to put pressure on myself. It’s the same thing every week, no matter where I am. I just want to put down my run.”
Today’s singles event begins at 8:30 a.m. with women’s qualifying, with the finals set for 12:15 p.m. Saturday’s duals contest starts at 3:45 p.m.
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