What are Team USA athletes — Olympians, Paralympians, hopefuls and more — 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 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."
When it comes to holidays and social media, Halloween is just about as good as it gets. Holidays both real (Thanksgiving) and imagined (say, the first day of school) have their place in holiday tidings timelines, but few social media marriages work better than Halloween for pure entertainment. We put a Team USA twist on it below.
Basketball gold medalist Kevin Love (as Jackie Moon) posted this priceless pic of his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, including three-time Olympic medalist and perhaps the best player in the world, LeBron James, but the best was yet to come for the versatile forward. Scroll down a bit to see how King James pretty much won the Internet over the weekend.
Safe bet there weren't many Halloween parties living up to this one, where the 6-foot-8 King took to the mic as Prince.
When James reposted a video to his own timeline later, he wound up earning more than 130,000 likes.
Paralympic star Amy Purdy changed her spots.
Five-time Olympian shooter and Rio hopeful Kim Rhode would seem to have an ideal training partner. Clearly, he's quite strong.
My son Carter was born really strong! Happy Halloween! pic.twitter.com/h7SJsphzzx— Kim Rhode (@KimRhode) November 1, 2015
In a word, Paralympic gold medalist swimmer Mallory Weggemann looked … super.
Nothing to see here. Just a 6-foot-2 Olympic rower in a costume. (Kudos, too, on the pun, Esther Lofgren.)
Retired hockey star and Olympian Mike Modano found out that, no matter a parent's best intentions, a son's and daughter's can provide opposition. Often at the same time.
Jacks not digging his Halloween get up pic.twitter.com/vj8wZVPYTC— Mike Modano (@9modano) October 31, 2015
Kate isn't either pic.twitter.com/SCxveQeQui— Mike Modano (@9modano) October 31, 2015
This year, trampoline Olympian Steven Gluckstein simply flipped out.
Olympic gold medalist tennis star Andre Agassi doesn't tweet often, but, when he does, it's usually worth the wait.
Do we have a winner? pic.twitter.com/ecdwCf2fdP— Andre Agassi (@AndreAgassi) November 1, 2015
Let The Healing Begin
We don't always see what it means to miss out on an Olympic dream, to see the wound open and a fractured heart pouring out emotion. Boxer Marlen Esparza, who won a bronze medal in London, allowed fans on Instagram a window into her soul after failing to qualify for Rio while at U.S. Olympic Team Trials this past weekend.
When In Shanghai …
The World Golf Championships are underway at Sheshan International in Shanghai, where some of the planet's best golfers are making their 2016 PGA Tour debuts, including Rio hopeful and the No. 2 player in the world, Jordan Spieth. This marks one of the more significant seasons in golf history, as it serves as a lead-in to the Rio Games. Among the field of 60 in Rio, Olympic fans may see as many as four U.S.-born players from a group that would include Spieth, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson.
Not long after arriving in China, Spieth, Watson and Fowler (along with Sweden's Henrik Stenson) took part in a traditional Chinese lion dance to celebrate the tournament's opening, and they were dressed to impress.
It wasn't all that long ago when folks would gripe about the appearance of the holiday-themed advertisements and latte cups and department store endcaps, all the unofficial signs of the season, beginning the minute after Thanksgiving. Now, it seems, we're having the conversation even earlier.
Teenage ice dancer Kaitlin Hawayek, a U.S. and world junior champion with Jean-Luc Baker, votes thumbs down.
November 1st... Aka the day the US explodes Christmas on you 🎅🏼🎄💥☃ #WAYtooearly— Kaitlin Hawayek (@KaitlinHawayek) November 1, 2015
Olympic medalist swimmer and breaststroke specialist Jessica Hardy votes with her head.
It's thumbs down for Olympic medalist figure skater Jeremy Abbott.
Christmas is my fav national holiday right behind my birthday lol ;) & tied with Halloween! BUT I'm a firm believer in 1 thing at a time! :P— Jeremy Abbott (@jeremyabbottpcf) November 3, 2015
Paratriathlete Mary Kate Callahan, on the other hand ...
Is it too early to add Christmas music to a running playlist??! Asking for a friend.— Mary Kate Callahan (@mkcallahan13) November 2, 2015
Olympic gold medalist and tennis legend Serena Williams had quite the tale to relay this past week. Take it away, Serena:
Soooooo yesterday at dinner the CRAZIEST THING happened to me. I was sitting enjoying some Chinese food (delicious may I add) and this guy stands next to me. It was only 2 of us sitting at a 4 person table just chatting like we have not seen each other in years. Anyways I digress, so this guy is standing next to me and something (I have now dubbed it my SUPERHERO sense) told me to watch him. My phone was sitting in the chair but I just didn't feel right. He was there too long. "Is he a customer?" I thought "Is he waiting on the bathroom?" nonetheless I tried to shake his this eerie feeling. However, I kept watching him from the corner of my eye. Than when least expected low and behold this common petty thief grabbed my phone and swiftly left. I looked at the chair, than shouted "Omg that dude took my phone!!" Not thinking I reacted (hence the superwoman photo) I jumped up, weaved my way in and out of the cozy restaurant (leaping over a chair or two) and chased him down. He began to run but I was too fast. (Those sprints came in handy) I was upon him in a flash! In the most menacing yet calm no nonsense voice I could muster I kindly asked him if he "accidentally" took the wrong phone. He stumbled on his words probably not expecting this to happen. While he was thinking of the right thing to say and eventually he said "Gosh you know what I did! It was so confusing in there. I must have grabbed the wrong phone." Meanwhile My phone was ringing, my superhero sidekick quailman was face timing me so he could not possibly deny the allegations. I swiftly thanked him and left. Superhero? Maybe? Or HELL YEA!! I've got the speed the jumps, the power, the body, the seduction, the sex appeal, the strength, the leadership and yet the calm to weather the storm. Always listen to your superhero inner voice. Always keep your things close! Fight for what's right. Stand for what you believe in! Be a superhero! When I got back into the restaurant I received a standing ovation. I was proud. I just showed every man in there I can stand up to bully's and other men. It was a win for the ladies! Just because you are a... facebook.com/SerenaWilliams/posts/10153788450706834:0
The superhero is now up for Team USA's Female Olympic Athlete of the Year award, presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods. Voting takes place at TeamUSA.org/awards through Nov. 20.
Just what Olympic silver medalist gymnast Jonathan Horton needed: a core strength workout.
On Nov. 1, two-time Olympic snowboarding medalist Hannah Teter soaked up a few final sun rays before the snow started falling. And, when it did on Nov. 2, she embraced that, too.
Eye Of The Beholder
Depending on your thirst for thrills, skeleton could be the very first or very last sport you might try if given a choice of Olympic sports to try. It certainly takes something special to dive headlong down a track of ice on little more than a plank with runners, and it's the kind of sport where its athletes inspire a level of awe for so much as trying it in the first place.
But even a skeleton athlete such as Caitlin Carter, in Utah for training, claims not to be thrill-thirsty enough for ski jumping.
JR Avoids The ER
Perhaps neither the skeleton athletes nor the ski jumpers have anything on Olympic ice hockey player Jeremy Roenick. Roenick later admitted to a national radio audience that this was not, in fact, the dumbest thing he's ever done, but that it was definitely on the list.
Jeremy Roenick vs. The Alligator pic.twitter.com/YCO1IZzWdY— Rhea Hughes (@rheahughes) October 26, 2015
Wheel Of Success
One of the most dominant athletes in the world keeps on winning. This past weekend at the New York City Marathon, 11-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden broke the women's wheelchair course record to close out a sweep of four major marathons — and for the third consecutive year, no less.
To the victor go the spoils. Even if that means pizza with fellow Paralympic athlete and sister Hannah McFadden.
Paying It Forward
Purdy passed along a priceless gift to her young friend Beau.
Teaching this little cutie Beau how to balance in his running blades! He was so so so excited! It was crazy to try to teach someone to run, to trust both feet coming off the ground at the same time. It's natural for most of us but for Beau he could feel it in his heart but had never experienced it before. It truly was the most amazing experience. I can't wait until we can run like the wind together! #bionicblades @freedominnovations #gamechanger thank you Zach Harvey for making his legs! #socute #liveandgive
Courtesy Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion wrestler Jordan Burroughs, good luck finding an easier reason to smile …
My son Beacon learning how to shoot his first double leg! Getting coached up by grandpa! pic.twitter.com/xf6qtFNvGA— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) November 2, 2015