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On The Lighter Side: May 11-17

By Jamie MacDonald | May 18, 2015, 3:30 a.m. (ET)

If we've learned anything with increased coverage, we've learned that Team USA's athletes and teams aren't leading dull lives. Whether it's training or goofing around, eating right or oh-so-wrong (for a treat, of course), supporting friends or celebrating victory, they've allowed us a window to their sporting souls. Each week we'll catch you up on some of the lighter moments or lighter takes on the news that make Team USA so compelling.


Double below-the-knee amputee and Paralympic snowboarding medalist Amy Purdy has had quite the week. Purdy went from May snow showers in Colorado, leading to the elemental hashtags #may #snow #colorado for one post, to the bright sunshine and sandy shores of Puerto Rico. She woke up with the sunrise, snapped beautiful landscapes and took selfies.

She also … got engaged.

Purdy, who gained additional fame while competing on "Dancing with the Stars," is now engaged to Daniel Gale.

Two days later, Purdy posted this powerful image from Puerto Rico:

She's Baaaackkkk

Five-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin had imposed upon herself a social media hiatus to coincide with the close of her sophomore year at Cal. But she returned in typical Missy fashion this past week, taking a smiling shot with Bears swimming teammate Kristen Vredeveld.


The U.S. Women's National Team, which will open the FIFA Women's World Cup in just over two weeks, continued its tune-up schedule over the weekend with a match against Mexico. Team USA went on to win in Carson, California, 5-1, in front of a spirited crowd of 27,000, including this superfan:

Czech Mates

When it came to the 2015 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship, the U.S. Men's National Team's stated goal was to make it to Prague. Team USA played its opening round games in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and, after six wins, followed by a quarterfinals OT win over Switzerland, was rewarded for its efforts with a 220-mile train ride to one of the world's most scenic cities.

The men arrived in time to sneak in some fun before playing for a medal over the weekend. Take it away, Jake Gardiner …

Segway tour in Prague today. #fistpump

A video posted by Jake Gardiner (@jgardiner272) on

Team USA, which was backstopped by NCAA standout goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, went on to earn bronze in Prague with a Sunday win over the host country. The United States has now medaled in two of the most recent three men's world championships. Take it away, Jake Gardiner …

Great feeling winning Bronze with all of these guys. #USA

A photo posted by Jake Gardiner (@jgardiner272) on

Just Ducky

Before closing out a frustrating few events at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte, Michael Phelps, who failed to qualify for the finals in two events on Sunday, did have some time to share a tub and a laugh with Conor Dwyer.

The ol ice tank after a swim🐥❄️ @c_dwyer

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

Ready, Set, Dance

How does gold medalist figure skater Tara Lipinski get ready for a Friday night?

How do you get ready on a Friday night @chelseakruse 👯

A video posted by Tara Lipinski (@taralipinski) on

Touring Shanghai

Prior to the Shanghai Grand Prix, Olympic fencer Race Imboden sneaked in a few hours of sightseeing … and, likely, editing this fun little video:

Having too much fun in #Shanghai before the Grand Prix

A video posted by Race Imboden (@race_imboden) on


Swimmer Tyler Clary's skills in the pool go beyond the 200-meter backstroke, for which he won a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Clary can also drop the hammer on a belly flop. For a few years now, Clary has made his belly flop a fixture at big meets. In Charlotte, the belly flop became part of a challenge with a local television host.

City Of Angels

Just how far has the Los Angeles Clippers come since it was among the NBA's historically disappointing teams? The team has earned the public respect of two of the world's most famous Los Angeles Lakers. Dream Teamer Magic Johnson turned rooting for two-time Olympian and Clippers point guard Chris Paul into date night:

And it wasn't just retired players. It was also one of the most competitive current players, future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. The two-time Olympian doesn't tweet often, but, with more than 6.6 million Twitter followers, his messages carry weight and spread quickly. This past week, he, too, focused on a Clippers star: Blake Griffin.

When a reporter pointed out a possible thaw in crosstown relations, Bryant straightened things out in a hurry.

The efforts of Paul and Griffin would not be enough, however, in the Western Conference semifinals. On Sunday, the Clippers lost to the Houston Rockets, which was led by 2012 Olympian James Harden's 31 points.

Ann Arbor Graffiti

Olympic gymnast Sam Mikulak is a man on the move. Originally from Southern California, the Michigan Wolverine recently had his final workouts at the Newt Loken Training Center in Ann Arbor before moving to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Rest assured, Mikulak left his mark on Ann Arbor.

Sibling Revery

Not many brother-sister tandems can compete with Hall of Famers and Olympic gold medalists Reggie and Cheryl Miller. Reggie went deep into the archives this past week and unearthed an old photo of the pair, with the added bonus of big brother Darrell, who played Major League Baseball for the Angels, making a cameo.

Related Athletes

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Amy Purdy

US Paralympics
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Sam Mikulak