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Colorado native Jeremy Bloom finds success after Olympic, NFL careers

Olympic heartbreak never deterred Bloom

FORT COLLINS – Dos Equis got it wrong.

With all due respect to Augustin Legrand, Jeremy Bloom is clearly the Most Interesting Man in the World.

Hurried travelers actually stop to listen to his voice at Denver International Airport.

Other Tommy Hilfiger models start working out after a photo shoot with him.

Publishing company executives paid him for writing a book on failure.

Jeremy Bloom is the Most Interesting Man in the World.

With the anticipation of the Winter Olympics growing, Bloom has little time to look back on what could’ve been when he competed at the 2002 and 2006 Winter Games. Instead, he keeps freestyling through life with the same gusto that he displayed during his athletic career.

“Barring a tragic situation, Jeremy will leave this life with an empty tank,” said his father, Larry Bloom, from his Fort Collins home. “It’s crazy what he’s done already.”

At age 35, Jeremy Bloom, who was born in Fort Collins but lived most of his life in Loveland, has already checked off more bucket-list items than many people have items on their list.

At age 10, he told his parents that he wanted to play in the NFL and participate in the Olympics. Check.

After his athletic days were over, he looked for ways to give back the love he had for skiing. He founded the nonprofit Wish of a Lifetime Foundation, which grants seniors their lifelong wishes to pursue experiences. Check.

He wanted to start a business. He founded and is CEO of Integrate, a successful marketing software company based in Phoenix. Check.

And now every time he returns home from a trip, it’s Bloom’s own voice that greets him at the airport. Check.

“As soon as they asked me, I said, ‘Are you kidding me, that’s been on my bucket list,’ but I never thought it would happen,” said Bloom, who recently relocated to Denver after living on both coasts. “I’m so proud to be a Colorado native and have received so much support from the state.”

The state rallied around Bloom during his two trips to the Olympic Winter Games. Even though Bloom’s childhood Olympic dream didn’t end on the podium, the losses were a catalyst for the next phase of his life.

At age 19, Bloom became the youngest moguls World Cup champion and entered the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City as the top freestyle moguls skier.

He finished ninth.

In 2005, he won a then-record six consecutive World Cup events and again was a favorite to win gold in the 2006 Winter Olympics at Torino, Italy.

He finished sixth.

Slight bobbles in the finals of those nearly 23-second races cost him a podium appearance. In his book “Fueled by Failure,” Bloom wrote of the feeling when a lifetime of preparation for gold died.

“Three, two, one, over the loudspeaker, and I pushed out of the gate. The snow was icier than it had been in training. I felt myself getting a bit out of control, but I was determined to fight my skis back underneath me. I got it back together quickly and was flying into the bottom on air. The takeoff on my D-spin 720 was not perfect, and I landed with a small compression. My heart immediately dropped – I knew it wasn’t my best run. I knew I made a small mistake, but didn’t know how severely the judges were going to penalize me for it.

“I had made one mistake, and I knew it would cost me. The only question was how much. In those fleeting moments while I awaited my score, I felt the same gut-wrenching feeling I had experienced when I was 19 years old and participating in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. My score came up. I was in fourth place with two skiers to go. My dreams of becoming an Olympic champion were over. I had prepared my entire life for this one moment and I knew there would not be another opportunity.

“When I returned to my apartment in Torino, I closed the door, sat down on the bed, and, well, that was it. I lost it. Tears flowed down my face. A torrent of emotion flooded over me. I wanted to crawl outside of my body because the pain was so unbearable. It was the lowest moment of my athletic life; I felt totally defeated once again on skiing’s biggest stage.”

“I was an inch away from winning a gold medal,” Bloom said in a phone interview. “When I lost, I was pretty upset. For 48 hours I relieved every moment and obsessed about it. But then I was good to move at 100 mph.”

And just like that he was off to a new adventure. Three days later, he returned to the U.S. to participate in the NFL combine.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles after playing at the University of Colorado but never played a regular-season game in four seasons in the NFL. However, he was smart enough to enroll at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he learned business, through a program developed by the NFL.

“I wasn’t really sure what I saw for myself at (the end of my football career) and that was the scary thing,” said Bloom, the only athlete to ski in the Winter Olympics and be drafted into the National Football League. “I was so focused on skiing and football and there was a fear of the unknown of what I was going to do after it. That feeling drove me to where I am today.

“My trophy case is doing pretty well. And when I was skiing, those trophies really mattered to me. But as I discovered and feel today, they no longer matter to me.”

What matters now is his business, which is more than Integrate.

He appears with former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and former NFL player Dhani Jones on CNBC’s “Adventure Capitalists” show, which is similar to ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

He is an adviser to the Chinese government to help the country prepare for its 2022 Winter Olympics. He serves on the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team boards and is a member of the Denver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Exploratory Committee, which also includes NFL legend Peyton Manning. The committee is examining the potential of Colorado hosting the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee awarded the 1972 Winter Olympics to Denver but the state’s voters rejected it.

Bloom believes times have changed.

“The world is a totally different place now compared to then,” Bloom said. “I believe it makes all the sense in the world to have it in Colorado, where you find the best skiing in the world.”

And when he’s not conducting business, Bloom still loves the outdoors. He enjoys backcountry heli-skiing, resort skiing, biking and hiking.

“I don’t go out and build jumps in the backcountry anymore; I don’t even find bump runs,” said Bloom, who somehow has no lingering pain from skiing moguls and playing football. “But I’ve always loved adventures no matter where those adventures take me. When we were growing up, if it wasn’t the Broncos or the Olympics on TV, we were outside. That spirit remains.”

Oh, yes, there is another thing on his bucket list that needs checking off.

“The biggest thing is to have a family and be a dad,” said Bloom, whose parents divorced in 1998. “One of the most amazing things in my life is my relationship with my mom and dad. They always told me that raising children will be one of the most meaningful things in my life. I’m looking forward to that.”

When it comes to interesting, Bloom has plenty of competition in his own family.

“Molly’s Game,” a movie about his sister’s life of running high-stakes underground poker games for Hollywood celebrities, athletes, business tycoons and the Russian mob, was recently released. Kevin Costner played Larry Bloom, and the film was directed by Aaron Sorkin.

Jeremy now refers to himself as “Molly’s little brother” on Instagram.

Brother Jordan Bloom is a Harvard-trained cardiothoracic surgeon in Boston.

Larry Bloom, a retired Colorado State University clinical psychologist professor, can only marvel at the varied lives of his children.

“I’m often asked how our kids turned out the way they did,” Larry Bloom said. “My answer is it’s a symphony, not a single instrument.”

After flying home from yet another business trip one late Thursday afternoon, Jeremy was heading over to the Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show in downtown Denver, because the day was still young and you just never know when a business opportunity might present itself.

“I like that my dad said that about me,” Bloom said. “It’s true that I want my gas tank empty when I’m gone. What good is taking anything with you?”

That’s an interesting thought.