What are Team USA athletes — Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls — 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."
’Tis The Season
Four-time Olympic beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings, only a few months removed from her Rio experience, had turned the page to the holiday season.
Gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson, along with a crew of her own, presents tannenbaum. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Johnson/Platts/East family successfully found "the tree" for our years holiday festivities. You'd be amazed at how much time and thought goes into this selection. We feel bad for "the guys" (or trees) that aren't selected so we have to take that into consideration, we never go for the perfect ones because we aren't a perfect family, and we always have to find one that's somewhat short and squat because.... well..... it's got to be like us 😂😂😂😂 #johnsonfamilytradition #holiday #christmastree #seriousbusiness
For two-time Olympic distance runner Kara Goucher, though, getting her tree home resulted in a lighting fail.
Why holiday gods, why would you do this to us?! 🤔😫😥🎄 pic.twitter.com/tlJS6u6EGO— Kara Goucher (@karagoucher) November 28, 2016
And two-time Olympic gold medalist water polo star Maggie Steffens, by way of a #tbt, reminds us all that it is, indeed, sartorially speaking, Santa hat season.
And, yes, Nathan Adrian, that includes for cats.
Ash is getting in the Christmas spirit 🎁🎄! That or she hates her Santa hat and tries to chew it to bits 😂 pic.twitter.com/5vSzZPvNAA— Nathan Adrian (@Nathangadrian) November 27, 2016
The Write Stuff
Two months ago, Sanya Richards-Ross let her fans know, in reference to an upcoming book, she was, “Pouring my heart and soul in it,” and she offered a reminder that it would be available this coming summer. This will be the first of three books the four-time Olympic gold medalist will release, and it’s clear that, in addition to her heart and soul, she’s also enjoying the process.
Don’t Try This At Home
Two-time Olympic luger Chris Mazdzer took his talents to the streets for what turned out to be a wild ride. And if you don’t have the time to watch six minutes of behind-the-scenes footage of “Mazdzer’s treacherous one-shot road trip,” check out his high-speed threading of the needle under a road grader.
Ski Season Is Rolling
Three-time Olympic alpine skier Steven Nyman may look like he’s not in the most efficient of skiing positions for speed, but a) it’s early in the season and b) he feels as if he’s headed in the right direction.
Gruesome. That’s the word many used to describe the images Olympic alpine skiing legend Lindsey Vonn posted after breaking her arm a mere two weeks ago in Colorado. There was the x-ray of a “badly fractured” humerus. There was the long, sutured, surgical slice up the back side of her right arm. There was the marbled greenish-yellowish-purple bruising of her biceps. But there were hints of optimism and silver linings in those posts. This past week there was a post, liked more than 50,000 times, of her curling a dumbbell with that arm. And late this week, there was this …
Alpine slalom legend in the making Mikaela Shiffrin kept on winning, in this case earning the top spot in Killington, Vermont, and after the Thanksgiving holiday in front of her grandmother, no less.
One of the hazards of traveling to visit with parents over the holidays? Unfamiliar bathroom surroundings. Two-time Paralympian Melissa Stockwell found this out the hard way over Thanksgiving.
Note to self: look at lotion containers in mom's bathroom before using to avoid the accidental use of tanning lotion. #imorange— Melissa Stockwell (@MStockwell01) November 28, 2016
None of this seemed to provide any issues for her during Chicago’s Better Business Bureau Torch Awards on Dec. 1.
Because there is an internet, social media, timelines and a willingness to share, we’ve seen plenty of cute baby posts over the years. We could even stack up dozens of Team USA kid posts, but few are going to match this from Olympic gymnast and new mom Alicia Sacramone.
OK, Maybe This …
Also ranking awfully high on the newborn cuteness scale is the daughter of alpine skier Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan. Miller says Emeline Grier is named after his grandmother, “who is still rockin' it in her 90’s.”
Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now
Ready. Set. Go …
As of this week, two-time Olympic medalist bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor and her teammates’ seasons are underway with the world cup event in Whistler. In Meyers Taylor’s words, “This is when we finally see the outcome of months of preparation. What will happen this season? No one knows and there's an excited anticipation that fills the air. I'm looking forward to finding out what will happen, and I think it's good to have things to look forward to.” With a new year on the horizon, bobsledding’s new year is already upon us. And you know who will be easy to spot in her bright blue spikes? Elana Meyers Taylor, courtesy her bobsledding husband, Nic Taylor.
Did You Know?
A little-known fact about three-time Olympic shooter and Rio bronze medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein: Her husband is Chicago Bears defensive lineman Mitch Unrein. The road to and through the NFL, of course, is no easy feat, either, and Cogdell-Unrein paid tribute to Unrein’s hard work. And showed off a pretty fantastic sideline parka …
Cogdell-Unrein also allowed her worlds to collide a bit this week, too.
To get to know Unrein a little better, he appeared in a November 2015 edition of chicagobears.com’s Big Guys, Compact Cars, where he let his host know the little-known fact he was married to an Olympian.
Catching Up With …
By the time he was in his early teens, Apolo Ohno was an elite level short track speedskater, and he’d eventually go on to become the face of the sport in this country en route to winning eight Olympic medals. These days, he is a New York Times bestselling author who has appeared on many television shows, including "Dancing with the Stars," and a motivational speaker. In the case of the latter, he could most recently been seen in Vancouver …
Meanwhile, In Kazakhstan
One of the myriad reasons to follow Team USA athletes is to follow their travels. For instance, if you were wondering what the skyline of Astana, Kazakhstan, looks like in winter, 2014 Olympic speedskater and 2018 hopeful Emery Lehman has you covered. Lehman, along with teammates Shani Davis, Jonathan Garcia, Kimani Griffin, Brian Hansen, Joey Mantia, Ian Quinn, Jeffery Swider-Peltz and Mitchell Whitmore, is in Kazakhstan for the a world cup, which runs from Dec. 2-4.
Astana pic.twitter.com/JbeeHVCQ97— Emery Lehman (@TheEmeryLehman) November 28, 2016