Ever wonder what your favorite Team USA athletes — Olympians, Paralympians, hopefuls and more — are up to when they're not competing? They're training. They're practicing. They're traveling to competitions and meets and games and tournaments. They're relaxing. They're getting engaged and married. They're taking hard-earned vacations. They're coping with the raw emotions that come from losing and celebration of winning. And they're sharing. Through the reach of social media, we're able to follow along on their often extraordinary journeys. We'll catch you up each week on what's "Red, White & Trending."
We Believed … That They Would Win
Over the past week, you may have heard something about a women's soccer game. Team USA's 5-2 win over Japan in the Women's World Cup final kicked off a July 5 fireworks display of social media goodwill and congratulations across North America.
From President Obama and the First Lady, to presidential hopefuls Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush, to celebrities Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, to Captain Scott J. Kelly aboard the Space Station, Team USA captured the country's attention.
Two-time gold medalist basketball player Kobe Bryant and Olympic legend Michael Phelps were but a few of the many Olympians to rally a mutual admiration society. U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team captain Meghan Duggan, owner of two medals, called Lloyd her new idol and men's national soccer team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann called it an "amazing performance."
A few Team USA athletes were even there.
One of my favorite parts of the night: parading through Vancouver with thousands of U.S. fans celebrating the win! pic.twitter.com/iJzs6Kup6h— Lauren Salter (@lsesalter) July 6, 2015
Women's national team players' timelines blew up not long afterward with priceless pictures and thoughts, too. One stood out for its humor (and candor):
When you go to shower and you have gold confetti stuck to your butt. You know it's been a 👌 day #WorldChamps— Kelley O'Hara (@kohara19) July 6, 2015
And, of course, Team USA's return to the "real world" has provided ample opportunity for homecomings (Sydney Leroux to her dog) and for all of us to enjoy the fruits of the team's labor — particularly for Carli Lloyd, who was serenaded upon her arrival at Major League Soccer headquarters:
Prior to the Team USA celebration, the July 4 holiday weekend set off a round of patriotism that fueled timelines ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Sled hockey gold medalist Josh Pauls and Olympic bronze medalist figure skater Jeremy Abbott offered the former:
Olympic figure skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski chimed in with the sublime:
On the other side of the Atlantic, the best tennis players in the world are playing at Wimbledon, where Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams is again a favorite on the grass courts in the women's draw. On her way to yet another final, she had to, for the 26th time in their lives, face sister and former No. 1 Venus Williams. Younger sister Serena won the July 6 match to advance, while also improving her record over her doubles partner to 15-11 in singles matches. No matter the record, Serena posted a priceless sentiment on the day they played.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, retired tennis star and Olympian Andre Agassi had himself a far less strenuous day.
Allyson Felix is fast. Really fast. She has three Olympic medals, including gold in the 200-meter at the London Games, and a fun campaign to prove it.
The Future Is Now
We're now inside a week before the IAAF World Youth Championships take place in Colombia, where the United States sends nearly 50 track and field athletes to compete in everything from the 100-meter to the decathlon. When they arrive, they will do so in style. Imagine the feeling and the symbolism of opening armfuls of Team USA gear. Georgia native and 16-year-old Candace Hill, who made headlines in June when she ran a sub-11:00 100-meter, doesn't have to imagine it. Nor do Destiny Collins, who will run the 3,000-meter, or decathlete George Patrick.
😭😍❤️🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/4uHhHk7AF4— des♡ (@destinnycollins) July 6, 2015
Pan Am Prep
Over the next two weeks, we'll step aside from this weekly edition and turn things over to a daily posting during the Pan American Games. More than 600 members the 2015 U.S. Pan American Team are in Toronto to compete in more than 35 sports, including ...
Processing with Olympic water polo medalist and two-time Olympian Merrill Moses along with a pair of familiar teammates:
Striking a pose with gymnasts Sam Mikulak, Donnell Whittenburg, Steven Legendre, Marvin Kimble and Paul Ruggeri III:
PHOTO: The U.S. men are ready for their first day of training in Toronto for the 2015 Pan American Games! pic.twitter.com/dZK3DVPzeP— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 6, 2015
Taking a tour with rugby sevens center Megan Bonny:
Pampering with Olympic water polo gold medalist Maggie Steffens, whose teammates are already underway after their first game was played before the Opening Ceremony.
Free salon in the village? Yes, I will get some USA nails done please! pic.twitter.com/qD4EEsZ9cP— Maggie Steffens (@maggiesteffens) July 6, 2015