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."
Anatomy Of A Friendship
This is so good. At a time before Simone Biles was that Simone Biles, the best gymnast in the world and in the conversation as one of the best ever, before she was lighting up Rio with her show-stopping routines and before all the gold medals, back when she was idolizing Team USA’s top gymnasts, the spark plug with all that promise received a text message from London gold medalist Aly Raisman. Biles couldn’t have been more excited …
Simone's reaction years ago when I texted her for the 1st time. I feel as cool as @ZacEfron now. https://t.co/ARMyIpVgOc— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) December 5, 2016
awwww now she's my bestfriend ❤️ @Aly_Raisman LOVE YOUUUU https://t.co/XnEkCuYCIz— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) December 4, 2016
Haaaaaaaard! While that familiar curling refrain didn’t echo through his home arena, Steph Curry, the two-time NBA MVP who lost out on a chance to lead Team USA in Rio because of injury, did pay tribute to the sport to which he was introduced when his father was playing for the Toronto Raptors.
Nice moves @StephenCurry30! https://t.co/jddndiMqVF— USA Curling (@usacurl) December 5, 2016
On a side note, USA Curling began a “race to 40,000 clicks” that is also worthy of attention. Here’s the deal: If the national governing body’s website, usacurl.org, receives 40,000 unique visitors this month, it will in turn receive $25,000 from the United States Olympic Committee.
I. Said. Kick. It.
Not many soccer moms happened to have played soccer in the World Cup and at the Olympics, but such is the case for soccer mom Sydney Leroux Dwyer. For a few months now, she’s been living up to the term, but she elevated her tough-love game this week with Cassius Dwyer.
We’d also found out two weeks ago that she’s not above brainwashing her son just about any way she can. Let’s hope he doesn’t drop a #FightOn around the house.
Missy On Tour
One of the more interesting careers for such a young athlete, an athlete who as a teenage swimming sensation became a star of the 2012 London Games, is on display now in the form of "Relentless Spirit: A Memoir of the Unconventional Raising of a Champion." Congratulations are in order for its author, the now 21-year-old Missy Franklin, who could be found this week working on publicizing the new book — from the big stage of the "TODAY" show to a miniature set at Facebook.
Thanks so much for having me today @facebook! I just wish the offices were a little bigger! 😂😂 #RelentlessSpiritBook pic.twitter.com/D6l6c4x2eo— Missy Franklin (@missyfranklin) December 6, 2016
Thanks @BookendsNJ & everyone that came out tonight! Tune-in to the @TODAYshow tomorrow morning to see us talk #RelentlessSpiritBook! ❤ pic.twitter.com/Z0al9JtozZ— Missy Franklin (@missyfranklin) December 7, 2016
Also a big thanks to @SIRIUSXM for having us in-studio today! Looking forward to another great day in NYC tomorrow!— Missy Franklin (@missyfranklin) December 7, 2016
Thanks to @MissyFranklin for the lovely note she wrote this morning! #ShareKindness pic.twitter.com/RLZ9cTsM54— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 7, 2016
Thanks for having me this morning @TODAYshow! #ShareKindness https://t.co/APrGunxhhp— Missy Franklin (@missyfranklin) December 7, 2016
If you hadn’t seen the announcement, young boxing star Shakur Stevenson will ride the wave of his success in Rio into a professional career — but what seemed even more impressive than the leap he’s making at the age of 19 was his response to one prominent well-wishing tweet. It is priceless in its optimism.
Time to be great! https://t.co/k1K85teczp— Shakur Stevenson (@ShakurStevenson) December 6, 2016
He’ll Take A Half-Dozen
Leaps. Hops. Ups. No matter what you call them, Olympic medalist freeskier David Wise has them. How about taking stairs six at a time?
For triathlete and Paralympic gold medalist Allysa Seely, her adorable golden isn’t shy about finding a place to sit, no matter how inconvenient …
A day later, her pup piled on the cuteness with a roll in the snow.
On the subject of dogs, two-time Olympic gymnast Jonathan Horton’s son finds a way to make himself at home on the family dog. Boy’s best friend …
And … this, from Charlie White, whose Instagram home proudly serves as a place where you, “Come for the Olympic figure skating, stay for the dog pics”:
Beware The Flicker
And, while we’re on the subject of Charlie White, enjoy his Instagram take — including the happiness written all over his face — on the lighting fail of his hotel room.
Time flies when you’re having fun. This week, the son of the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time made it a little closer to his first birthday.
Here, buckle up and take an inverted, slow-motion ride with two-time Rio silver-medalist gymnast Danell Leyva.
Leyva’s teammate Donnell Whittenburg also had his mind, and camera, set on slow-motion.
New Code calls for new skills #slomosunday pic.twitter.com/nIu5Yw1Lwv— Donnell Whittenburg (@D_whittenburg) December 4, 2016
For the next time an elite athlete wonders whether his or her work is inspiring others to play …
Found this lovely homework assignment...very cute and thank you @MiaHamm for being my inspiration 😬👍🏽 #ChapelHillCollege 😂 pic.twitter.com/amN232mILH— Morgan Brian (@moeebrian) December 3, 2016
And, wow, Mia Hamm. What a classy, humbling response from one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.
@moeebrian Thanks, Morgan. Wish I had your vision and playmaking ability. You continue to make us all proud.— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) December 4, 2016
Winter Sport, Summer Athletes
A handful of Team USA medalists with ties to New England were invited to join the Boston Bruins this past week. Congratulations to Raisman, Hugh Freund, Tessa Gobbo, Kayla Harrison and Gevvie Stone.
N.E. Olympic medalists Hugh Freund, Tessa Gobbo, Kayla Harrison, Aly Raisman & Gevvie Stone ready to drop the puck! pic.twitter.com/J9htJgcYqi— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 6, 2016
Go B's @NHLBruins @nhl @chloeraisman21 pic.twitter.com/VZcufSZ1vX— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) December 6, 2016
Amazing to be recognized at the Bruins game. Summer sports taking the ice! Boston really is the best sports city! #goBruins pic.twitter.com/NL6ihscXci— Gevvie Stone (@gevgevs) December 6, 2016
Look out, Grayhawk! There’s a six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer doing some speed work in your midst.
It may be outdoor ice in the Bay Area, but Kristi Yamaguchi is an Olympic figure skating champion who still makes it look easy.
Around The World
Olympic ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson, after undergoing knee surgery in the fall of 2015, loves being back to work, which recently took her to Slovenia over Thanksgiving and to Norway, where she finished a strong 11th and the next day eighth in Lillehammer and remained in good spirits despite suffering these indignities …
Wish I wasn't staying across from a nightclub.... Please stop playing Flo Rida 🙄😭 #justwanttosleep— Sarah Hendrickson (@schendrickson) December 3, 2016
Wait now they are playing Timber.... PLEASE. HELP.— Sarah Hendrickson (@schendrickson) December 3, 2016
Since Norway, Hendrickson is now on to Russia …
Russia. Can you spot the ski jump? pic.twitter.com/3adjJChDX1— Sarah Hendrickson (@schendrickson) December 8, 2016
Of course, this time of year, Team USA is competing in many winter locales …
Dateline, Val d'Isère, France: If you’re looking for U.S. Ski Team head men’s coach Sasha Rearick, you may want to check the trees.
@SashaRearick Are you roped in?— John David Jarrett (@jdjarrett1970) December 3, 2016
Dateline, Davos, Switzerland: And this sort of thing seems not to be exclusive to Team USA’s alpine skiing coaches.
We’re still in Davos, where 2014 Olympian Noah Hoffman checked in with the cross-country skiing team’s secret Santa shenanigans.
Team #SecretSanta was a huge success. Instead of writing poems for each other as we have in the past, this year our "Santas" drew portraits of us and hung them discreetly in the meeting room. We then had to identity which portrait depicted us and guess who drew it. In this photo we're all holding the portraits that were drawn for us. Zoom in to match drawings to people and see my story for close-ups of each drawing. . Back row from left to right: @eric_packer, @jcorkski, @tjtbaucom, @ebjornsen1991, @idasargent, @caitlinmpatterson, Bryan Fish, @mwhitcomb243, Andrew Morehouse, @kikkanimal, me and @simihamilton. Front row from left to right: Jean-Pascal Laurin, @sbjornsen, @lizhillstephen, @jessiediggins, @rosiewbrennan, @sophiecaldwell and Chris Grover . @usskiteam @usnordicskiteam @llbean #llbean @craftusa #craftskiing @fiscrosscountry