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."
The move to Arizona, to train with longtime coach Bob Bowman, who earlier this week was named head coach for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team, seems to be treating Michael Phelps pretty well. Over the past few weeks, he's been golfing, goofing around in the pool, catching up with a surfing legend, creating new family memories and tubing.
The 18-time Oympic gold medalist swimmer has also been hamming it up for the camera with former Notre Dame swimmer Frank Dyer, Olympian Allison Schmitt and fiancée Nicole Johnson. Oh, and Juno, the dog.
Arizona also appears to agree with Johnson, a USC alum and former Miss California USA.
I swear I'm not defecting from being a #Trojan but uhh @MichaelPhelps & I just got more than enough #SunDevils gear from @ASUMarketplace— Nicole M Johnson (@MissNicoleJ) August 27, 2015
Tuesday night set up as one of the more compelling matches in recent U.S. Open history as the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, the former on the verge of writing more history, the latter now 35, faced off in a quarterfinal night match. Night matches often bring out the best of players in Queens, and this match was no different as the Olympic gold medalist sisters managed to play a three-set beauty, with Serena winning in three sets. Throughout the match, timelines were abuzz with interest in the match.
Phelps is also making time to watch bigtime sporting events:
Can't wait to watch @serenawilliams and @Venuseswilliams tonight!! What and epic match!!!— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) September 8, 2015
Olympic figure skater Maia Shibutani, who has an elite athlete sibling of her own, took an empathetic approach:
Really glad @AlexShibutani and I are always on the same team. Looking forward to watching these legends tonight! 🎾 #SerenaVenusXXVII #usopen— Maia Shibutani (@MaiaShibutani) September 9, 2015
He may be retired, but former Olympic tennis star Andy Roddick is still watching, too:
This is seriously high level stuff ....— andyroddick (@andyroddick) September 9, 2015
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Heather Mitts, who was also watching the U.S. men's soccer team against Brazil, kept at least one eye on the match:
#SerenavsVenus Epic Always— Heather Mitts (@heathermitts) September 9, 2015
When the match ended, the accolades deservedly came in for both sisters:
That was one of the best #WilliamsSisters matches I've seen! Congrats to both amazing women! @serenawilliams @Venuseswilliams— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) September 9, 2015
What a match! Congrats @serenawilliams and @Venuseswilliams for all you have accomplished! 1step closer 2the #GrandSlam— Summer Sanders (@SummerSanders_) September 9, 2015
Greatness=Williams Sisters..— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) September 9, 2015
"She is the toughest competitor and greatest person I know" @serenawilliams talking about @Venuseswilliams #sweet— Summer Sanders (@SummerSanders_) September 9, 2015
And on a side/front and back note "The Williams Sisters" are AMAZING!!! @serenawilliams @Venuseswilliams. My daughter will look up to y'all— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 9, 2015
Get Out Of The Kitchen
If you've seen the creep-tastic trailer for "The Visit," there's a line in there, spoken by a characther's grandmother, that probably sticks with you. It certainly did for Paralympic sled hockey gold medalist Josh Pauls.
Really glad my grandmothers never got possessed. Without my legs I'm like the perfect size to fit in an oven #TheVisitMovie— Josh Pauls (@spudsusa27) September 9, 2015
Years In The Making
What were you doing five years ago? Chances are quite a bit has changed in your life. All the while, Olympic gymnast Sam Mikulak has had this on his mind:
5 years in the making and I finally got it 💪 pic.twitter.com/TinuiuaLdF— Sam Mikulak (@SamuelMikulak) September 9, 2015
Ready For Some Football?
'Tis the season, NFL fans. The NFL season kicked off Thursday night with the defending champion New England Patriots beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxboro. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Summer Sanders, an unabashed Bills fan, likely was not actively rooting for the AFC East rival Patriots in this one, but the Bills have a chance to pull even on Sunday. In any event, Sanders is ready for the season. Eight of her first 10 tweets on Thursday referenced the NFL or the Bills, including this gem:
Thank you @NFL for my new @buffalobills goodies!! Perfect timing it was 38 degrees in park city this am! pic.twitter.com/a9zJeayoVp— Summer Sanders (@SummerSanders_) September 9, 2015
This past weekend also marked the start of the NCAA football season, and one of the best basketball players in the history of the game, King James himself, happens to be a superfan supporter of the best team in the country. The Ohio State Buckeyes are a unanimous No. 1 again after an opening-week win over Virginia Tech, a win that didn't lack for style points, particularly from their former starting quarterback who seems to be making the transition to electrifying wide receiver.
His name is Braxton Miller, his coach refers to him flatteringly as a freak athlete, and, for a few minutes this past weekend, he was the apple of James' eye after a dazzling spin move in the midst of a long touchdown run.
I see you lil bro @BraxtonMiller5!!! Hit em with "The Silencer"— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 8, 2015
Thirteen months ago, beach volleyball star and Olympic silver medalist Jennifer Kessy gave birth to her daughter, Aïla. And while returning to the kind of shape required to perform as an elite athlete hadn't been easy over the past year, the California native has her sights set on Rio. Of course, she's also a mom — a self-described hippie mom, at that. To wit: She may may be on the road most summer weeks for tournaments (she's the No. 2 seed along with her partner, Emily Day, this weekend at a Huntington Beach event), she's still committed to cloth diapers.
Shooting For Rio
The 2015 ISSF World Championship Shotgun are now underway in Lonato, Italy, where more than 90 countries are represented by more than 750 athletes. Among them is Kim Rhode, Team USA's remarkable five-time Olympian … who passed on the opportunity to sample the octo-app.
Teams eating octopus as an appetizer! Lol I passed... pic.twitter.com/mq5gQlYGTo— Kim Rhode (@KimRhode) September 9, 2015
Wrestling With Greatness
USA Wrestling enjoyed a golden Thursday night, with Rio hopefuls Adeline Gray and Helen Maroulis winning world freestyle titles in Las Vegas. Gray won at 75 kg. (165 pounds) while Maroulis earned gold in the 55 kg. (121 pounds) weight class. Prior to their medal haul, Gray took to Instagram to wish her friend luck.
While few want to read about this now, winter is coming. And, for many, it is glorious. Olympic gold medalist in halfpipe skiing, David Wise, has been in the Swiss Alps this week, along with coach Andrew Woods and teammate Aaron Blunck, and Saas Fee has not disappointed as a photo opp. Now, this is a view: