Modeling is in vogue for champion skiers |

Modeling is in vogue for champion skiers

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

What becomes of someone who has just captured a world championship?

A guest spot on “South Park” or a commercial shoot opposite Anna Kournikova?

For all of the hard work it takes to become a world champion in anything from ping-pong to darts, there should be some payoff other than having your name in the Sports Almanac for eternity.

If the timing is right and the sport is X Games-worthy, then there is a chance of being put on the spot by David Letterman as the late night talk show host generously did for Jonny Moseley after “Big Air” won the 1998 moguls gold medal.

However, subtract Picabo Street and Tommy Moe and skiing hasn’t exactly been a sport that Americans can hope to gain celebrity status.

But the latest wave of freestyle skiers, including Jeremy Bloom and South Shore’s Travis Cabral, are hoping to crash through that sports marketing roadblock.

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Before the long-reaching hand of the NCAA arm-tackled him last year, Bloom was on the verge of becoming Hollywood’s next Tom Cruise. Until Cabral topped him last winter, Bloom was the youngest world freestyle skiing champion as a 20-year-old. But he was more than that. Bloom was attempting a rare triple: modeling, skiing and playing college football.

But the NCAA informed the two-sport phenom that he couldn’t receive any sponsorship money or make any endorsement deals while it was governing his life.

Bloom may go on to become the next Cruise, but not as long as he wishes to play football for the Colorado Buffaloes, he’ll have to play by the NCAA’s rules.

Prior to the NCAA’s ruling and subsequent court hearings, Bloom was modeling for Tommy Hilfiger and contacting acting agencies in Hollywood. For now, his fans will have to wait for Bloom to market his line of clothing, posters, autographed cards, stickers, accessories and picture books.

While Bloom ponders playing another season for the Buffaloes, he can leave the acting and modeling to his good buddy Cabral.

Cabral, who followed Bloom as the 2003 world men’s moguls champion, recently made his modeling debut, spending three photo shoots with Tommy Hilfiger. The results will appear in the December issue of Esquire Magazine.

“Like he says, I always seem to do what he’s doing,” said the 19-year-old Cabral. “It’s good because Jeremy and I are so young doing what we did … it made a difference. You see a bunch of guys doing so well, not just in our sport, in SuperStars and all the other extra-curricular activities, it shows we’re all-around athletes.

“Whatever we put our mind to do, we can do it.”

Just like Bloom, Cabral may one day pursue acting. For now, he’s content to work on his acting skills while helping a high school friend with his senior project. Cabral and his local pals will appear in Chris Smith’s 90-minute movie “Deja Vu” on June 6 in South Tahoe High’s Little Theatre. General admission is $5 and revenue will go to local charities.

“It will be big … an action drama with all Tahoe kids,” said Cabral, showing his talent to promote as well.

Despite his varied interests, Cabral has every intention of doing what Bloom wasn’t able to do this past season — repeat his world title.

“It’s going to be tougher and tougher with all of the rules change and with everyone wanting to work harder to accomplish their goals,” he said.

Obviously a repeat world champion is more marketable than a one-time wonder. Cabral has a lot to gain if he repeats, especially if Bloom continues to pursue his football career.