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."
Just Kickin' It
Showing off a nifty ability to convert, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti can hope the Olympic Games bid process goes as well as his impromptu tic-tac-toe passing with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach this past week. Garcetti went short-side high with a one-timer off a pass from Bach, to the delight of a small crowd.
.@LA2024 @LAMayorsOffice goooooooaaaalllll! #LA2024 pic.twitter.com/b8PLmd6QIU— T Christopherson (@ThC2000) February 2, 2016
The IOC will make its 2024 Olympic and Paralympic city selection in 2017, and Los Angeles, after hosting the Games in 1932 and 1984, is vying for its third Games with Rome, Paris and Budapest.
Step Closer To Rio
Earlier this week, taekwondo athletes Steven Lopez (a two-time Olympic gold medalist), Paige McPherson (an Olympic bronze medalist) and Stephen Lambdin, by virtue of their wins at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, advanced to the Pan American Qualification Tournament — the last hurdle on their road to Rio — from March 10-11 in Mexico.
Lambdin, a heavyweight from Texas, will be seeking his first Olympic berth, and he reacted as one might in that very, very special circumstance, complete with heartfelt thanks and a reference to himself as a one-time "little fat-kid growing up."
This picture sums it up! Today I won my first US Olympic Team Trials! God is gracious and kind! With Christ ALL things are possible... Even the little fat-kid growing up to make his dreams come true. One of the proudest moments of my athletic career. So many people to thank: Thanks to my coach Jason Poos, Poos Taekwondo, and the whole #NextLevel team... Seriously, I had way more people cheering than I expected. Thanks to my sponsor @juicecompound (coaches @hunets @jasonbhan and Tony). My S&C team behind me is the best in the world. Thanks to @TKDSCORE for keeping me in the best gear, and helping me look as sharp as I am in the ring. Kevin @smart_wellness_now for fueling me for success. @keyhealthedmond for giving me a place to get in shape for game day. Seriously, it's the best gym in OKC. And of course my family. Wow. They've seen all the crazy up and downs of this ride... And they're still around. This is just the next step. On to Continental Qualification in March, and then to Rio for the Olympics. God is great. #TeamJesus #TeamChrist #USATaekwondo #Juiced #Road2Rio #Fearthebeard #TeamUSA #Beard #seetheworld #Taekwondo #WTF #seetheworld #WimHoff #WimHoffMethod #manly #NotKansas #Travel #Reno #USTrials ##OlympicTrials #USOlympicTrials #NextLevel #SafeSport
It hasn't been a particularly harsh winter in Boston, though snow is in the forecast, but Big Air at Fenway will bring another measure of the season to the home of Major League Baseball's Red Sox. The event will feature Olympic slopestyle skiing gold medalist Joss Christensen, along with Olympic snowboarders Sage Kotsenburg and Ty Walker, blasting off a 140-foot ramp — rising above the ballpark's light towers — in the outfield. And while there have been all manner of non-baseball events at Fenway, this remains more than a little novel in concept.
Curtains For Phelps
Oh, nothing to see here. Just the most-decorated Olympian in history popping out from behind a curtain to distract a free-throw shooter whose only crime was traveling to play at Michael Phelps adopted home arena at Arizona State.
There's a pretty spectacular before picture, but fiancee Nicole Johnson's during picture offers a front-row seat to a priceless show.
Right around the 12th day of Christmas, one of Mikaela Shiffrin's loves, ski racing, was lost to her for a time when she fell during a free skiing session. Since, she has made a nice habit of posting inspiring images and video of her recovery, including one to celebrate an important milestone — her first day back on snow in eight weeks:
Guess what..... I skied today.Posted by Mikaela Shiffrin on Saturday, January 30, 2016
Frankly, however, this may have been even more impressive as an indication of the healing that has taken place in her knee:
⛷ #judgmentday #ibelieveicanfly #ifeelthegoodtimescoming #realsoon #ihavejigglyskinPosted by Mikaela Shiffrin on Thursday, January 28, 2016
A week ago, soccer star Sydney Leroux announced to her fans that she and her husband, English-born MLS forward Dom Dwyer, were expecting their first child. This past week, she offered an update. And some comic relief.
I heard someone's little heartbeat for the first time today and I definitely cried but I'm blaming hormones. Not because I'm soft. 👶🏽— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) February 2, 2016
In other next-generation Team USA soccer news, Stuart Holden made a special announcement this past week, too.
Introducing the newest member of the Holden family, Kennady Rose🌹. My heart is bursting with love @KaralynWest pic.twitter.com/3eD4PbLklu— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) February 2, 2016
… And, as she was with Leroux, Team USA legend Mia Hamm was first on the spot to say congratulations.
@MiaHamm @KaralynWest thanks Mia!— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) February 3, 2016
Paralympic track star Jarryd Wallace made his 500th post on Instagram a good one after a magazine picked up the story of his unique engagement. The four-time world record holder is fast (10.71 in the 100, in fact), but he was captured recently on his own, very quick, Road to Rio, working on the form he hopes will earn him a gold medal.
Meanwhile, Shawn Johnson is full-on into wedding planning, and, as the clock ticks down within a few months of the Olympic gold medalist gymnast's wedding, she's earned the the cake-tasting portion of the program. Though, as SJ points out, there may be more cake than bride on her wedding day.
Reaching New Heights
In the long and storied hockey history of Boston College, a program that has produced All-Americans, Olympians and NHL regulars, there is a new career leader in goal-scoring. Congratulations are in order for Alex Carpenter, a member of Team USA at the Sochi Games and the daughter of Bobby Carpenter, who was the first U.S.-born player featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
With her last goal, Carpenter now holds the @bostoncollege hockey (men or women) career goal record with 124 (Brian Gionta '01, 123)— BC Women's Hockey (@BC_WHockey) February 2, 2016
To follow Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy on Instagram is to get a little closer to nature — from balmy beaches to majestic mountains, particularly in the great state of Colorado. Considering it's now winter in the Rockies, and snow has been dumping, a slow-mo dip in that Rocky Mountain powder seems appropriate.
What little Connor lacks in an ability to carefully seek grocery store bargains, he makes up for in unbridled toddler bliss for three-time Olympic gold medalist soccer player Heather Mitts.
Happy 2nd bday to this little bundle of joy. Those cupcakes you've been eyeing are all yours! 🎉🎈🎂🎁❤️ #sugarhigh pic.twitter.com/bXLqtoZhfU— Heather Mitts (@heathermitts) January 30, 2016
Tara Lipinski may be missing her fiancé, but her second career act has her sitting pretty in Rio, where she and fellow Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir have been pouring in stunning images of the city's iconic landscapes.
Neither, incidentally, will be caught short on fashion. To wit: nine bags.
In addition to setting up as a pleasant outlook on life, perhaps gymnastics star Simone Biles has a new workout routine to share, too.
convinced the only reason I have abs is because I laugh at EVERYTHING— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) February 4, 2016