Home News Red, White & Trendin...

Red, White & Trending: Aug. 28-Sept. 3

By Jamie MacDonald | Sept. 04, 2015, 12:11 p.m. (ET)

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."

Purdy Special

Paralympic bronze medalist Amy Purdy proved this past week that she has a flair for the dramatic — and for throwing the perfect party for the occasion. The hints started about a week ago with a relatively benign "a lot of love in the air this week" Instagram post that generated more than 4,400 likes. That was followed a day later by a less-subtle glimpse of her wedding dress that generated more than 9,500 likes.

Then, the payoff:

Four weeks ago, Purdy, her mom, her sister and her niece took a dress shopping field trip to New York, resulting in this stunning floor-length gown.

As for the reception entertainment, why not bring in Wynonna Judd to sing?

The happy couple has also set sail on its honeymoon.

#VMAs, #Kanye, #Bro

Some feuds were squashed. Others flared up. There were a memorable performances and sartorial statements. But perhaps the most lasting impression of the 2015 Video Music Awards, the one so many Team USA athletes were watching, came courtesy of Kanye West. West's speech quickly took over timelines while offering ample material for real-time commentary ranging from the snarky to the poignant. To wit …

Silver medalist hurdler Jason Richardson, 10:37 p.m. ET:

World champion figure skater Kimmie Meissner, 10:45 p.m. ET:

Gold medalist alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, 10:46 p.m. ET:

World champion fencer Miles Chamley-Watson, 10:46 p.m. ET:

Silver medalist fencer Tim Morehouse, 10:48 p.m. ET:

She's Going West … Brook

Congratulations are in order for Olympic gold medal-winning basketball star Russell Westbrook and fellow former UCLA basketball player Nina Earl, who were also married over the weekend. On a scale of 1 to 10, these smiles come in at about a million.

Not only does the happy couple photograph well (more than 30,000 favorites on Twitter can't be wrong), but so do Russell and his brother.

Tiny House Living

Olympic halfpipe snowboarding star Gretchen Bleiler has been been immersing herself in nature lately: a "stormy hike" up to Cathedral Peak a week ago and the American Lake Trail over the weekend. Making appearances on each trip, set against the sunning mountains and high-country lakes of the American West, was her dog, Kota. To cap this trip off, Bleiler set up shop in a tiny house, cleverly referred to as WeeCasa, not far from Boulder, Colorado.

Hurdle Star's Biggest Hurdle

Not only was 110-meter hurdle Olympic champion and world-record holder Aries Merritt up against a strong field at the world championships late last month, but he has also been fighting, since 2013, a life-threatening kidney disease so serious that he underwent kidney transplant surgery on Sept. 1. Heading into the weekend, Merritt earned bronze in Beijing. Four days later, he underwent the transplant with his sister as his kidney donor.

At one point, Merritt was told he would never run again. Naturally, his story has inspired many, including some of the best athletes in the world.

So far, so good, according to reports, too. Not surprisingly, Merritt is moving quickly.

Not For The Squeamish

Injuries are a way of life for Team USA athletes, and those injuries range from broken bones, to surgical procedures, to blisters. We'll start with the blister, if only to work up to London Olympian Jake Dalton's shoulder procedure.

Michelle Wie, a golfer whose game made her famous before she was even in her teens but will be seeking a spot in Rio for golf's Olympic revival, had to think about an age-old question about what to do about a pesky blister.

Dalton, on the other hand, had this with which to contend: "a tube that was allowing pain medicine to go into my shoulder."

One of the most rewarding elements of being part of Team USA is having an extended support group. For Olympic ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson, who recently underwent knee surgery, that came in the form of a special delivery from fellow Olympic winter athlete Maia Shibutani. Shibutani, a figure skater and fantastic social media follow in her own right, also proved to be quite a thoughtful friend.

Free Brady

The NFL's Deflategate saga finally came to a stop Thursday, at least before any other legal steps are taken, with Tom Brady's four-game suspension not only reduced, but nullified by a federal judge in New York City. The sporting world had watched with interest as lines were drawn between the league and the Patriots, and Team USA athletes joined the trending dialog.

Olympic basketball gold medalist Reggie Miller saw implications that might impact far more athletes than just Brady.

NCAA all-around champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Samantha Peszek's take likely resonated outside of New England.

Massachusetts native and Olympic silver medal-winning women's ice hockey player Alex Carpenter saw it the other way.

Good Night

Olympic freeskier Torin Yater-Wallace, while in Chile, caught this stunning sunset.

Related Athletes

head shot

Amy Purdy

US Paralympics
head shot

Aries Merritt

head shot

Jake Dalton

head shot

Maia Shibutani

Figure Skating
head shot

Russell Westbrook

head shot

Sarah Hendrickson

Ski Jumping