Bean riding Olympic high

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:54 AM ET

Jeff Bean isn't ready to let go of that Olympic spirit just yet.

Then again, it's almost like it keeps calling his name.

The three-time Olympic freestyle aerials skier from Ottawa spent several hours this weekend flying off a trampoline in a parking lot next door to the Rideau Centre. It was a chance to give dozens of young dreamers an up-close-and-personal insight into what he does, and just how high it's possible to fly with it.

"It's about not forgetting Olympics during the four years in between (Games), as people tend to do," said the 29-year-old Bean, who has followed the Olympic flame to Nagano, Salt Lake City and Turin over the past eight years.

He speaks about the RBC 2010 Flag Tour, which is visiting Ottawa this weekend -- you can meet Olympic athletes and take part in several interactive exhibits today from noon-6 p.m.

Bean has also been to tour stops in Montreal and Toronto, and plans to stay on board as it moves onward to Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.

Clearly, Bean has a passion for the Olympics and amateur sport that goes way beyond just being a competitor himself.

"I'm a huge believer in it," he said.

"We're gearing up for Vancouver, and this is our shot for amateur sport to do a lot of really good things in Canada. We have to take advantage of it."

The seven-week Flag Tour has him thinking he'd like to be involved in Vancouver 2010 in some capacity.

"I'm starting to think a little bit more about that," said Bean. "Over the next four years, so much more is going to be available out there. I've got a lot of experience at this and I've been doing it a long time.

"I'd like to explore some opportunities and throw my name into a couple of rings and see what happens."

OLYMPICS CALLING?

Not that he's entirely ruled out a fourth shot at Olympic glory.

"You never know," he said. "I haven't had time to sit down and re-evaluate things. My body is feeling good and I'm still loving it, but one more year (of World Cup competition) is still my plan.

"I've had three shots at it already, but to do one in my own country ... that would be pretty special."

Bean admits he still feels the sting of shot No. 3 in Turin, where a mistake on his second qualifying jump cost him a shot at the finals.

Even Salt Lake City in 2002, where he was fourth -- fractions of a point shy of a medal -- didn't hurt like this.

"I can still look back at some really fond memories (in 2002)," he said. "A lot of really good things happened and for five minutes at the bottom of the hill, I had that medal feeling. In Torino, I didn't give myself a shot. I didn't make finals.

"I didn't feel like I had a chance. It was a hard one to stomach ... I'll be dealing with that one forever in some capacity."

FAST AND FURY-OUS: The Ottawa Fury continue to load up on talent in a bid to win their first W-League championship. Last year's playoff finalists announced three significant signings earlier this week -- midfielders Zoe Avner and Stacey Stocco, and forward Carrie Kveton. Avner, a Paris native who just finished her senior season at Rutgers University, played last season with the W-League's Boston Renegades. Kveton spent the 2005 season with the Atlanta Silverbacks and also has two years of English FA league experience with Bristol Rovers Academy. Stocco, from Australia, is a former W-League rookie of the year with the Renegades.

HOOPS APLENTY: For the first time in recent memory, Ottawa will play host to a series of Ontario Cup youth basketball championships. Girls' play runs Friday-Sunday in four midget (under-15) and six major midget (under-16) divisions. Some 128 teams from across the province will hit the hardwood in 30 high school gyms from Orleans to Almonte. They'll play nearly 300 games in all. The boys' divisions are set for the May 12-14 weekend. For schedules, results and other tourney details, log on to www.basketball.on.ca.

AROUND THE AMATEUR SCENE: The Ottawa Titans are entered in this weekend's cadet girls' nationals in Calgary -- one of Water Polo Canada's series of six club championships. There are Titans and Hull Aqua-Polo entries in the cadet girls' event, which begins Thursday in Regina ... Chandra Costello of Gloucester Synchro has earned selection to the Ontario senior synchronized swim team, which will head off to an international event in June.

ROB.BRODIE@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


Videos

Photos