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Red, White & Trending: Sept. 18-24

By Jamie MacDonald | Sept. 25, 2015, 12:31 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."

Why, Yes, That Is A Llama

On a Saturday afternoon earlier this month in France, rowers Olivia Coffey, Tracy Eisser, Amanda Elmore and 2012 Olympian Megan Kalmoe made history by winning Team USA its first-ever world title in women’s quadruple sculls. This past week, Elmore made her teammate smile by posting a video of herself "frolicking" with a llama.

Frolicking with Franklin

A video posted by Amanda Elmore (@agelmore) on

Cup Full Of Gratitude

After more than 100 years, golf makes its Olympic program return in Rio, where the best men's and women's players in the world will be on display. This past weekend in Germany, some of the best women's players in the world were competing for the Solheim Cup, which was won in dramatic fashion by the United States. In the U.S. vs. Europe format, Europe led, 10-6, before the final day of play, a final day that saw Team USA storm back for the win.

Cristie Kerr, a veteran of seven previous Solheim Cup appearances who figures to be in the mix for a spot in Rio (along with, among others, current top-15 LPGA golfers Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Brittany Lincicome), birdied nine of 11 holes to win one of Team USA's singles matches. She also walked away thinking of the fans back in the United States.

Rookie Team USA member Alison Lee, who has already headed back to school at UCLA, played a central role in the drama, which makes the video she captured that much sweeter.

Still feelin the love even on foreign soil @solheim_cup πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ’žπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

A video posted by Alison Lee (@thealisonlee) on

For all the trophy images that lit up timelines in the glow of the win, the raw emotion captured on the face of Paula Creamer may have made for the day's best image. Creamer, who won her singles match 4-and-3, required a captain's pick selection from Juli Inkster to even have made the team.

Note To A Younger Self

These days, it may be hard to imagine Ashton Eaton — he of the unofficial title of world's greatest athlete, the Olympic decathlon champion and world champion, the gleaming smile and marriage to a Canadian track star — as a young student trying too hard to look cool. But that's what he's sees in this old gem from Bend's Mountain View, not that he didn't appreciate the post.

"Incredible," he wrote in his first response. Thanks for this."

This past spring, Mountain View named its track for Eaton, whose signature is printed across the lanes.

Shadow Dancing

For the past two months, at least, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist figure skater Ashley Wagner has been a woman on the move: Japan, Sun Valley, Siesta Key, Colorado Springs, Palm Springs. While in California this past week, she stopped long enough to strike a pose.

Sisterly Love

Tatyana McFadden has been living out of a suitcase, too. One of the world's most dominant Paralympic athletes, McFadden also sees the value in downtime with her sister and fellow Paralympian, Hannah.

After long two weeks of travel this is the best way to end your week πŸ˜˜πŸ’• #SisterlyLove

A photo posted by TatyanaMcfadden (@tatyanamcfaddenusa) on

Golden Pair

Fenway Park may be the lyric little bandbox of a home to the Boston Red Sox, but it has also become a wildly popular concert venue and hockey arena. This coming February, it will be transformed into another kind of winter wonderland for a snowboarding and freeskiing event called Big Air at Fenway.

To preview the event, Sage Kotsenburg, the first man to ever win an Olympic gold medal in slopestyle snowboarding, and gold medalist freeskier Joss Christensen posed for a pic with Fenway in the background.

Kotsenburg also enjoyed the honor of throwing out the first pitch on Tuesday.

Row'd To Rio?

For the first time in more than 15 years, Team USA won a men's kayak world championship medal, courtesy Michal Smolen this past week in London. Smolen has his eyes trained on Rio, as well as on what's important to his journey whether he makes the team or not.

While Smolen's hard work certainly helped at worlds, it was one special piece of apparel that really landed him on the podium.

Smolen also earned high praise from Olympic gold medalist canoeist Joe Jacobi.

Dream Rings True

Congratulations are in order for 2012 Paralympic gold medalist swimmer Mallory Weggemann. On Tuesday, she posted the story of how a dream came true in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

This past Sunday was an absolute dream come true!! While we were doing a couples photo shoot on the beach here in Hilton Head, SC the love of my life asked me to look up... In that moment I saw a plane with a banner that read "Mallory, will you marry me? ❀️ Jeremy" as I turned around I saw the love of my life on one knee before he could even get the words out I broke down in tears of joy, I was completely shocked and next thing I knew he was asking me to be his forever! In that moment everything I could have ever dreamt of truly became a reality! It was an absolute dream come true and not too long after I turned around and saw my parents walking down the beach, who he flew in to surprise me! We ended the evening celebrating on the beach with friends and family and some fireworks! The past few years have been an absolute whirlwind and I couldn't imagine spending this journey of life with anyone else! He has been my one and only for a few years and now he is my fiancé and I finally get to shout it from the roof top!! World, meet my amazing, loving, selfless, compassionate fiancé @factoryagency11 I love you more than anything babe and I cannot wait for everything that is to come!! You love, are my best friend, my better half, my soulmate and now you are fiancé and I feel so incredibly blessed! Remember babe, a dream you dream alone is only a dream... But a dream you dream together is a reality! We both feel so incredibly blessed to have so many individuals who have been supportive of us over the years and we can't even begin to thank you all for all of your love and support! #WeAreEngaged Also, a big thank you to @whitneyboring capturing this incredibly special moment! #WeAreGettingMarried

A photo posted by MalloryWeggemann (@malloryweggemann) on

All of a day later, she posted a pic of another rite of passage: flipping through wedding magazines.

Parting Shot

If the name sounds familiar, it's no small wonder. The son of 2002 Olympic ice hockey silver medalist Keith Tkachuk, Matthew, played Thursday night in USA Hockey's All-American Prospects Game. Jeremy Roenick, one of the best U.S.-born players in history, was a teammate of Keith's on that Olympic team and he served as a coach in the prospects game. Roenick clearly enjoyed seeing what looks an awful lot like the face of a young Keith Tkachuk, a fellow New Englander and part of USA Hockey's best generation yet.

The MVP of the Thursday night game? Luke McInnis … whose father is 1992 Olympian Marty McInnis.

Related Athletes

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Ashton Eaton

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Michal Smolen

USA Canoe Kayak
American Canoe
Canoe Slalom
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Mallory Weggemann