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."
'Twas The Night Before Christmas
… And all throughout the world, Team USA was stirring. Olympians and Paralympians were traveling and shopping, wishing and dishing, napping and wrapping, hosting and toasting — and we went in search of the most unique social media posts over the long holiday weekend, beginning with the night before Christmas.
Funny, Simone Manuel. One of the fastest swimmers in the world, as her gold at the Rio Games in the 100-meter freestyle (to go along with silver in the 50 free) will attest, Manuel is no stranger to moving fast.
How I Christmas shop... pic.twitter.com/9vyxTtMduh— Simone Manuel (@simone_manuel) December 24, 2016
In the spirit of giving, NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist basketball guard Kyrie Irving offered, to the tune of more than 200,000 likes, a sleigh full of toys for some of his sporting friends. Between Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Diana Taurasi, Ashton Eaton, Sue Bird, Elena Delle Donne, Allyson Felix and Serena Williams, that is an awful lot of Team USA gold.
Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Becca Meyers’ canine copilot came dressed for the occasion.
Olympic ice dance champion Meryl Davis had the tree, the fire … and presents to hug.
The very frequently fantastic social media presence Lolo Jones, a three-time Olympian as a hurdler and a bobsledder, brought the funny to her nearly 500,000 Twitter followers. Again.
I'm still debating if I'm going to put Christmas lights up outside— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) December 24, 2016
The Big Day
Warning, what follows is maximum goodness — and if you feel as if you were worn down by holiday messaging and marketing, here’s a terrific antidote. It’s just a sublimely slice-of-life few minutes of awesome brought to life by four-time Olympic basketball champion Lisa Leslie’s kids. Leslie’s treat is a treat for us all. (Related viewing: For another helping of adorable, watch her daughter’s funny take on her Elf on the Shelf.)
Life for Olympic champion Simone Biles over the past few months has been a whirlwind, so it’s no wonder the Olympic champion gymnast had one very special wish for Christmas.
I got the only thing I asked for for christmas ... FAMILY TIME ❤😭 LOVE YALL 💋😘 pic.twitter.com/oeXvO44NWj— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) December 26, 2016
For another gymnast, Rio alternate Donnell Whittenburg, he made his mom’s Christmas unforgettable.
He has his own Instagram account. His mom is an Olympic gold medalist soccer player. His dad plays MLS. He’s Cassius Dwyer. And he has the keys to one fantastic new ride, courtesy a very familiar godmother.
Speaking of the next generation, when your elf game is as strong as this, there isn’t much sense for Boomer Phelps, son of Olympic legend Michael Phelps, to bring much more than this to his mom’s 427,000 Instagram followers.
Two-time Olympic medalist archer Jake Kaminski took aim at putting his own stamp on the holidays. If this isn’t his holiday card, perhaps it will inspire him for next year.
Parents can relate to this, Dominique Dawes …
And, from figure skater Gracie Gold’s blooper reel (wait … for … it …) ...
Holiday Greetings From Around The World
Olympic cross-country skier Jessie Diggins, along with two-time Olympian Liz Stephen and fellow 2014 Olympian Noah Hoffman, sent glad tidings from across the pond. More on Diggins and an epic — if failed — snow dance later, by the way.
The brothers Shoji, Olympic volleyball players Kawika and Erik, are overseas playing for a Russian club team. They did win, for the record.
While many Team USA stars were working, 17-time Paralympic medalist and marathon star Tatyana McFadden, who competed at the elite international level as much as anyone in the world this past year, has taken some hard-earned time in the sun.
The McFadden crew polished off Christmas with a classic.
Back To The Real World
All good things must come to an end, and, with it, the Christmas holiday gave way to a return to training for so many Team USA stars, including Cassius’ mom, Sydney Leroux Dwyer.
Dear Paralympic champion Michelle Konkoly … We’ve heard that holiday calories only count half as much as during the regular season.
If today I did a pull-up for every Christmas cookie I ate this weekend...is it more shocking that I ate 45 cookies or did 45 pull-ups? 🍪 pic.twitter.com/pjpJ6kMtHk— Michelle Konkoly (@michellekonkoly) December 26, 2016
With the second half of her world cup season looming, it was back to the track for Sochi bobsled bronze medalist Jamie Greubel Poser.
For five-time Paralympic cycling medalist Jennifer Schuble, the days at work result in the days at play. Or, in this case, on the bike.
Counting inventory during Xmas shutdown @ plant. I'm crawling around engine final lines.The things I do to gain vacation days to race my🚴♀️— Jennifer Schuble (@JenniferSchuble) December 26, 2016
Visit Lake Placid
One of the great winter visits in the country is also an Olympic destination: Lake Placid. (To be fair, Lake Placid is a visit for every time of year, from the cool spring seasons, to the vibrant Adirondack fall seasons, to the green and gorgeous summers.) This week, some of Team USA’s figure skating stars, including Davis and Olympic partner Charlie White, have descended upon the upstate village, representing at the historic 1980 Miracle on Ice rink.
Outside, here’s a look at the gorgeous Mirror Lake in the winter, courtesy of Davis.
While some parts of North America are clearly in the thick of winter, getting hammered with snow, Diggins can’t catch a break. Not even the ultimate commitment to wishing, the snow dance, resulted in any of the white stuff in Davos, Switzerland. On the upside, in no small feat considering her roughly 22,000 Instagram followers, Diggins, did earn more than 15,000 views with this video:
Well...I danced my heart out all over Davos in the hopes that one of my silly snow dances would bring the white stuff (it didn't)...but I had a TON of fun! I hope this makes you laugh as much as I did! 💃🏼🤣This #snowdance goes out to my dancing buddies @anpokorn & @jbender 😘 @salomonnordic @swix_sport @llbean @kates_real_food @nuunhydration @usnordicskiteam
Fancy Meeting You Here
He went to an ice hockey game, and a family walk down memory lane broke out. Two-time bobsled Olympian Nick Cunningham, on his way to the San Jose Sharks game, walked by a South Bay coaching legend who just happened to be a familiar face.
Going in with Cunningham’s class was Tara VanDerveer, and the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame inductees include Brian Boitano, Mark Spitz, Dave & Mark Schultz, Kristi Yamaguchi, Rudy Galindo, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, Aly Wagner.
Thanks to a dream week in Semmering, Austria, Olympic champion ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin, who earlier this week sent warm holiday greetings alongside Santa and a reindeer, widened her lead atop the world cup standings — capped off by dashing through a driving snow with a giant slalom win that was followed by Thursday’s night slalom. Earlier in the day, Shiffrin had St. Moritz, Switzerland, on her mind. And a dance in her heart.
And Shiffrin's possible secret to success for Semmering? Napping.
Because napping is the real priority 😴. Wow what a day! Finally I fought for it in the second run and it felt great! Congrats to @tessaworley for another podium and @manuelamoelgg now you have to add a new apartment to the Mölgg residence! Also crossing my fingers for @mariapietilaholmner the real hero of the day walking off the course after that crash #sportsmanship 😥! So onto tomorrow- new race, new fight, new chance to fly. #sirnapsalot #woohoo #givesyouwings #sheskis
Seven slalom wins in a row, however, left her speechless.
Starting With One Pound
The recovery of Paralympic star Amy Purdy from injuries sustained while training are lasting. So, too, is her message of perseverance.
A little bedhead and morning motivation! I'm excited to show my progress on my #Road2Recovery . I have no desire to have big muscles, I just want to be strong, healthy and able to handle what life throws my way. The strength I am seeing has all been using just a 1 pound weight for about 6 weeks ( I moved to 2 pounds last week). With #Rhabdo , you are left with less skeletal muscle then before, making your muscles weak and prone to more injury. We are born with a certain number of skeletal muscle cells and if you lose them by severe injury they don't grow back. However, you can strengthen what's left. I am still nowhere near my normal and It's been a delicate journey because you don't want to over exert your muscle fibers which is basically what Rhabdo is caused by in the first place. I'm sharing this photo because I'm surprised what can be accomplished with a 1 pound weight. I think often we can get intimidated by working out because we think we need to do a ton of work to see results, but I'm learning it's not about heavy work, it's all about consistency. Just like any accomplishment, a little bit of work overtime goes a long way. It's super easy to pick up a 1 pound weight and do a quick 10 minute workout and if you do it each day after a month you will see a difference. I hope that this new year, whatever it is you want to accomplish you do! You just have to get started and stay consistent and before you know it you are better then before! Happy New Year everyone! #consitancy #persistence #perseverance #patience #livebeyondlimits #workoutwednesday #road2recovery 💪🏼
'I Love LA'
The old song title fits especially well with the Rose Bowl on the way …