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."
Ready For Your Close-Up?
For a handful of Team USA athletes, the Road to Rio took on a very real quality this week. Off to West Hollywood, California, they went for an NBC and United States Olympic Committee photo shoot that featured some of Team USA's best and brightest with props o' plenty.
World shot put champion Joe Kovacs:
Track star Allyson Felix (via birthday wishes from Kovacs):
Olympic gymnast Sam Mikulak:
Two-time Olympic silver medalist track cyclist Sarah Hammer:
Olympic cyclist Evelyn Stevens and triathlete Sarah True:
And, in the case of 2016 Paralympic hopeful Melissa Stockwell, her prop was a little different:
They call him Nitro. At least for a time. Bobsled Olympic medalist Steve Langton earned himself a spot in an online contest, possibly with the help of this very photo:
So @stevenlangton like, made the @chubbies finals?! 😂 I mean, I think he rocks the really short shorts, but then again I'm totally biased. But if you agree (which you should!) then VOTE & SHARE so he can keep on keepin on. 😎 ((Link in profile)) http://www.chubbiesshorts.com/pages/man-model-profile?n=Nitro
Langton's history with fellow Olympic Winter Games medalist Aly Dudek, admittedly biased and recently hamming it up with Langton at his first Packers game (photobomb courtesy her mother), dates back to Sochi (here's the pair's first picture together, on a mountaintop, no less). Dudek, a short track speedskater, also proved this week she can hang with with Langton when it comes to powerful legs:
After training with U.S. cross-country ski team in Utah from Oct. 12-28, Olympic Nordic skier Jessie Diggins returned to her native Minnesota for a little downtime before the world cup season. R&R is now officially over. It's ski season.
Capturing The Moments
Instagram followers of Simon Dumont, the Maine-born freeskier who had his Olympic dreams cut short by an ACL tear in the run-up to Sochi, know his work with a camera has given him an ability to express himself in an entirely different and compelling way. Instagram followers are also aware of Dumont's wanderlust. His most recent trip took him to Iceland, which was full of photo ops, including waterfalls, more waterfalls, sweeping vistas and stunning images of the Northern Lights.
Northern Lights in Northern Iceland. A 3/4 moon was rising behind us, lighting up all the rocks, as the Aurora Borealis was just getting brighter. Everything came together perfectly. This was one of the best nights of my life. What an epic way to experience shooting the lights for the first time.. I may have to get this one printed.. #northernlights #auroraborealis #iceland #travel #amazing #adventure #blessed #discoverearth #epic #explore #earthpix #inmyelement #longexposure #livingthedream #night #natgeo #natgeolandscape #nature #ourplanetdaily #ringroad #roamtheplanet #reflection #thegoodlife #theglobewanderer #beautifuldestinations
I've been lucky enough to see the Northern Lights a few times in my life.. Iceland was the first time I've seen them cover the entire sky.. We didn't plan on trying to shoot anything on Tuesday evening.. It was our second to last night and we wanted to get to bed early so we could get up a few hours before sunrise and utilize our last day.. As we were driving to the next town, the rain stopped, the clouds broke, and the northern lights lit up the sky like I've never seen before.. I pulled over and tried to shoot a self portrait.. This is how it came out.. What do you guys think?? @oakleyskiing
Regrets, She's Had … At Least One
Ah, social media. For all the brand equity athletes are able to create and cultivate for themselves over the years, there are downsides to a life lived in the spotlight. For 2014 Olympic bronze medalist figure skater Ashley Wagner, there's a fedora that sticks out.
Congratulations are in order for Olympic medalist Jake Arrieta, who on Wednesday evening won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award after completing a season during which he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and helped the Cubs reach the postseason. Arrieta was one of three Cubs this season who also played on the 2008 Team USA that earned bronze in Beijing, including fellow pitcher Trevor Cahill and Dexter Fowler. Arrieta's first public announcement on social media after the news? Thanking his teammates.
I have to thank my teammates, the entire city of Chicago, and the Cubs organization for everyone's dedication and hard work 🍻 @Cubs— Jake Arrieta (@JArrieta34) October 27, 2015
And The Award For …
… Best Adaptation Of The Knight Rider Theme For A Video Starring Your Boat goes to … 2016 Olympic rowing hopeful Meghan O'Leary.
Olympian Anthony Davis' New Orleans Pelicans have stumbled to a difficult start this NBA season, and the 22-year-old has suffered some early injury setbacks along the way. His shoe game, however, remains strong.
Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi has had quite a month for herself. Three weeks ago, Yamaguchi was honored by the California Hall of Fame while keeping this week on ice in her sights. Yamaguchi first gave a glimpse of her dress, followed by a tropical shot of a gorgeous beach and a rinkside selfie. For a hint of what's in store, check out the practice video (bonus points if you can name everyone in the shot):
Holla Atcha Boy
Jamie Nieto has his own video channel on YouTube, and the two-time Olympic high jumper recently caught up with Lolo Jones. A week ago in this space, Jones brought a whole new look, but, with Nieto in a much less casual setting, let her hair down. The Olympic hurdles (and bobsled) star, however, makes it clear her eyes are trained on Rio.
More Ink For Harris
United States Women's National Soccer Team goaltender Ashlyn Harris is no stranger to body art, particularly on her left arm, and, finally faced with some downtime after a long and hectic year, she's found some time and space for more. Some have speculated the final result may be Lady Liberty.
You know what looks good on the Road to Rio? Gold.