(This story was published in 2005).

In the championship round of the “King of the Hardwood” contest on our Discussion Board, skier and football player Jeremy Bloom knocked out soccer player Michael Owen, 56% to 44%, to continue his reign as sports’ hottest man. Bloom won the contest last year as well.

Bloom made a splash in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah with his boyish good looks and performance in the moguls, and was soon gracing ads for Joe Boxer and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

After a stellar freshman year playing for the University of Colorado football team, in which he set the school record for longest touchdown catch (94 yards), Bloom was banned from playing again by the NCAA for accepting sponsorships for his skiing.

Bloom took some time while in British Columbia, shooting a new Warren Miller film, to answer some questions about gay fans, gay players, and where he sees himself fitting in in the NFL.

OUTSPORTS: How do you feel about being regarded by gay men as the best-looking man in sports?

JEREMY BLOOM: To be honest, I don’t really feel honored that much. Not because it’s “gay men” but because I think outside beauty is a shallow thing. It would be an honor to me if I was regarded by people as a man with great character and determination.

OS: Have your teammates in football, or other skiers, ever given you a hard time for being “the model”?

JB: Of course, and it’s all in good fun. I’m the first one to make fun of myself, I don’t mind that at all. I want to spend my limited time on this world living life to it’s fullest and have the most fun I can.

OS: Does it matter to you whether a fan is straight, gay or otherwise?

JB: Not at all. A person’s sexual preference has no bearing on their character.

OS: Have you ever had a friend come out to you?

JB: No, I haven’t.

OS: Would you feel uncomfortable with a gay teammate in the locker room?

JB: That’s a tough question. It would definitely be a little awkward. But I could get over it.

OS: If you were an NFL franchise, what round would you draft you in and why?

JB: I would draft me in the fourth or fifth round. I have potential, but I’m not a sure bet like some of the incredibly talented college prospects

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