Saturday, February 8, 2003
Steamboat Springs For years, the University of Colorado football team has intimidated opposing teams at Folsom Field by being led onto the playing field by a stampeding buffalo.
American freestyle skiing star Jeremy Bloom took that tactic to the slopes, and if the top skiers on the World Cup tour were not intimated by his golden helmet Saturday (which is designed to resemble the one he wears during the fall as a member of the CU football team), then they should have been by his skiing.
Bloom stampeded past the competition during the final day of Sprint Freestyle Grand National en route to winning the mogul title.
Bloom was fourth after the qualifier but laid down the best second run with 27.80 points to edge Canadian Pierre Alexandre Rousseau, who finished at 27.55. American David Babic raced to his best World Cup finish to date -- taking third in the results.
"There was a lot of good skiing today," Bloom said. "There were a lot of big airs and a lot of fast skiing. I wasn't sure (that I was going to win after my run), but I was just happy to end up on top."
Bloom's result was the latest in a string of top finishes the CU student has enjoyed since returning to the World Cup tour following the end of the college football season.
Last week, he was second in the singles mogul event at the World Championships and won the dual event in Deer Valley, Utah.
Bloom had to move past Babic, Janne Lahtela and current World Cup leader Rousseau in the finals to earn the top prize.
"I'm pleased with my run. There was nothing else I could do," Rousseau said. "It was an amazing final. I didn't see Jeremy's run, but I'm sure that it was unbelievable."
Rousseau has always had top finishes in Steamboat Springs but slipped last year when he failed to make the podium.
"Steamboat has always been the greatest for me," the Canadian said. "I love to ski here."
The Canadian has reached the podium in three of the four World Cup events Steamboat has hosted.
While Rousseau has made a habit out of reaching the podium in Steamboat, that isn't the case for Babic. He earned his first World Cup podium in the Steamboat event by laying down a fast run in the finals and thrilling the fans who lined the Voo Doo run with a variety of new-school tricks.
"I've been working hard this summer on some new jumps. I've got a lot more in the bag, but I'm trying to get consistent with these jumps first," Babic said. "Jonny Moseley put it best when he said he could win with the trick he threw at the Olympics, but he can't win just because of it. It's the same thing with my skiing today. I had to put the whole package together and I did that."
Canadian Marc-Andre Moreau was fifth in the standings and local favorite Travis Mayer came in fifth.
"I'm obviously disappointed, but I made a mistake and these guys skied awesome," Mayer said. "You can't win every weekend and you just have to keep going and in the end hopefully end up on top. I came out here and skied my best ... and I just didn't pull it out today."