01/30/2006 at 01:00 AM EST
Why'll we watch him The 2005 World Cup moguls champ Bloom, 23, brings the tightest turns on the hill plus some sick aerial tricks—all performed at speeds of up to 40 mph—to next month's Winter Olympics in Turin. “He's reached the point,” 1998 gold moguls medalist Jonny Moseley recently told SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, “where he can just make magic happen.”
Mogul Mania: Picture racing downhill around 3- to 4-ft.-high mounds of snow and performing two extreme jumps like the stomach-churning 720-heli-X Bloom is planning (two complete rotations 15-20 ft. off the ground with his skis tucked under him in an X). “Jeremy's very gifted,” says former Olympian Trace Worthington, who will be NBC's freestyle skiing analyst at the Games. “But when you add the training and efforts he puts into it, the combination is just inhuman. It's kind of like game over.”
Toddler on the trails: “My dad was insane as far as skiing,” says Bloom, who grew up in Loveland, Colo., and remembers bombing down gnarly expert runs at 3, his Superman cape flapping behind him. “We'd be in line waiting for the lifts to open. We would not leave until the sun went down.”
Hold the booze: On the circuit Bloom, who rarely drinks, is as well-known for his self-discipline as downhill racer Bode Miller (see box) is for partying. “I don't feel good when I eat a lot of junk food,” says the 5'9″, 170-lb. racer, who during ski season cuts out cheese (too much fat) and soda. He averages two hours a day in the weight room, plus grueling agility and endurance workouts off-season.
Can he do anything besides ski? He earns money off his hunkish good looks, modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger and Under Armour. And then there's football. After the Olympics Bloom, who was a standout wide receiver and punt returner at the University of Colorado, plans to work out for NFL scouts. He hopes that his blazing speed (4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash), strength and skills will get him drafted come April. “It's about a dream of mine,” says Bloom. “I'm all about challenges.”
Wackiest fan encounter: During his first semester at the University of Colorado, Bloom opened the window of his second-floor dorm room one day to find a girl clinging to the tree outside, eager for a peek at him. “It kind of freaked me out,” he says.
Bloom in love: For the past two years, he has been dating Cameran Eubanks, 23, one of the stars of MTV's Real World San Diego. They met in Cancun while he was on vacation. “She's incredibly sweet,” he says.
His idol: Bloom's biggest hero now is pro-footballer-turned-Army-Ranger Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan. Bloom wears one of his NFL decals on his ski helmet. (It was given to him by Tillman's younger brother Richard, an actor and now friend of Bloom's; they met on an Abercrombie shoot.) “He's been a huge inspiration for me,” says Bloom of Tillman. “He marched to his own drum.”
BODE MILLER: SKIING ON THE EDGE
Moving nimbly over bumpy terrain may be Jeremy Bloom's specialty, but his Olympic teammate Bode Miller has shown that he's no slouch either. Earlier this month the free-spirited Miller, 28—who competes in the sport's downhill and slalom events—hit some major PR moguls when he admitted on 60 Minutes that he'd skied a race hungover (“wasted,” he called it). Outraged, the U.S. Ski Team called for an apology, which Bode offered. “The message that came through is not what I'm about in any way in my sporting career,” he said. Meanwhile, however, Miller seems to be doing what he does best: hanging loose and skiing fast. “He's taking it in his stride as much as anything in the past. It hasn't fazed him at all,” says Miller's friend, chef and travel buddy Jake Serino, 27, from the RV parked in Kitzbühel, Austria, where Miller was relaxing in front of the TV. “Just wait until the Olympics. Bode will silence his critics.”