By Brian Williams Anchor & “Nightly News” managing editor
NBC News
updated 2/15/2006 6:30:54 PM ET 2006-02-15T23:30:54

It's homecoming at the University of Colorado, where there's a rousing reception for the big man on campus, who stands all of 5'9". He is Jeremy Bloom, the former football receiver. And he's still the hero here, not just for what he did on the field, but for what he's able to do in the air.

Bloom is a moguls skier, one of the best in the world. And to him it's all about the game on that mountain.

"It's game time," he says. "This kind of feeling that comes over me. This calm. I am just in this place."

He was first on skis at age three. He was the youngest member of the U.S. Ski Team at 15, and now, at 23, he's a top athlete in two sports.

"In our household we didn't really have the word can't," says Jeremy's mother, Char Bloom. "The focus was on success and dreams and dreaming big."

And when these Olympic Games are over, Jeremy Bloom's bigger dream awaits — he's going to try out next week for the NFL. So if he had the choice of a Superbowl ring or a gold medal around his neck, which would he choose?

"Both," laughs Bloom. "I could walk away today with a smile on my face in skiing, but in football, there's one more level, one more question, one more challenge."

On the football field, Bloom has a personal hero, another gifted athlete who put bigger things above self: Pat Tillman of the Arizona Cardinals, who left the NFL to join the Army Rangers and was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. Tillman's jersey number is on Bloom's helmet, and his story is important to Bloom.

"You look at a guy like Pat Tillman," he says. "He gave up all the money; he gave up all that fame, because he wanted to do it for himself. I'll never forget about him until the day I die."

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