Bumpy ride for Moseley | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Bumpy ride for Moseley

Michael Traum

If ink stuck to it, Johnny Moseley signed it during the Sprint Bumps and Jumps competition Saturday at Heavenly Ski Resort. Posters, T-shirts, gloves, hats, helmets, headbands, goggles, skis, newspapers, blank scraps of paper and cocktail napkins.

The 1998 Olympic freestyle gold medalist skied three exhibition bump runs during the Sprint professional event. And the autograph hounds were swarming after each pass.

But before Moseley would sign anything of significance, there was work to be done.

“I can’t do it right now. Not until I lay down a good run,” he’d scream to the fans – some young, some old, as he hurried to a waiting snowmobile for the trip uphill.

In his first run, Moseley smashed his face into the snow after the course’s second jump. During his second run, the gold medalist biffed it twice.

The kids screamed his name, but Moseley wouldn’t sign until he completed a flawless run. He promised that after a perfect run, he’d sign for as long as the fans liked.

That came on the third-and-final run. Moseley sailed his trademark Olympic jump, the “UFO,” and punctuated the ripping performance with a backflip off the bottom jump.

And the fans kept Moseley to his word.

He signed for nearly an hour.

“We scheduled it so we know when it’s going to be crazy. It’s not random. We know when we come to an event we need to make it worth our while, because that’s what we come for, to hang out with the fans and the crowd,” said Moseley, whose career got a nuclear jump-start after winning the Olympic gold. “Every time you sign something or do something for someone, it’s cool. If you can give only a couple of people some inspiration, that’s all worth it.”

The 22-year-old Squaw Valley resident has had many chances to inspire lately – his schedule has been full with everything from appearances on “The David Letterman Show,” to charity functions and promotional deals. It’s been demanding on his time.

“First, I try to do the things I want to do, the things that interest me. Then I’ll do things that are beneficial to my career. (Bumps and Jumps) was fun, enjoyment, television and public relations – but mostly fun,” he said.

Moseley will do a benefit on the East Coast before next week’s U.S. Freestyle Nationals in Sugarloaf, Maine. The gold medal winner was unsure if he’d stay for a prolonged time with the national team. Pre-Olympic turmoil on the team, which included legal action by Jim Moran and Evan Dybvig in order to compete in Nagano, has left Moseley with a bitter taste about the team.

“It worked out. I think everyone realized in the end that Jim and Evan should have been there. And the whole arbitration opened up to a lot of people the fact that there’s a lot of screwed up things about this ski team and it needs to be dealt with. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t do better because it could’ve been more of an issue that we could’ve used with the ski team,” he said. “I don’t think it affects any of these young guys’ positions. The ski team is going to have to pay attention to freestyle a lot more or we’re going to go somewhere else. That’s an important thing that’s come out of this Olympics.

“I’m going to try and stay to ski World Cup. I also want to do some pro events, moguls and big air. I want to really ski, do everything there is to do. I think World Cup is pretty limited right now, FIS isn’t performing the way it should. If I can change that with my gold medal, then I will.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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