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."
There are few more grueling events than marathon and, when qualifying for Rio is on the line, that certainly adds to an already dramatic setting. This past weekend in Los Angels, training partners and friends Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan finished first and third, respectively, and both later expressed a great deal of gratitude for their own success.
I have struggled to find the words to accurately describe how grateful I have been to have the amazing @shalaneflanagan by my side everyday in training for the last four months so I am going to start with a simple thank you. Thank you for pushing and pulling me to be better everyday and for making those many miles fly by. You are a freaking awesome teammate and an even better friend. I can't wait to head down this #roadtorio ;) with you! #sweetbabyjesus #bettertogether #nike #nikerunning @nike @nikewomen @zamst_us @kimbiaathletics
Flanagan, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 10,000m, admitted to having some issues late in the race, and her post-race moment with Cragg, captured by @run_the_loop, offered the opportunity to say thank you.
Amy didn't know what she was getting into when she offered to catch me at the finish line. 😳 I hope everyone gets to experience what it feels like to have a friend that you know will always have your back through the good and bad. Happy Valentines Day love! You are a badass @hastyhastings ❤️💘😘💘❤️ #awkwardmoment #sorrynotsorry
Both were later given the ultimate compliment from the first women's marathon champion, legend Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Finishing second was Desi Linden, who was captured in full celebration mode by this great shot from marywruns.
Two-time Olympian Kara Goucher finished fourth, but remained a picture of class afterward.
Woke up at peace. I left it all out there yesterday. Thanks for all the heartfelt messages, means so much. We have a great team for Rio! 🇺🇸— Kara Goucher (@karagoucher) February 14, 2016
Valentine's Day Greetings
Just about two years ago to the day, Olympic short track speed skating medalist Aly Dudek and Olympic bobsled medalist Steve Langton took their first picture together on top of the mountains in Sochi. Since, their considerable adventures have been chronicled via social media, and, on the occasion of Valentine's Day, Dudek posted a variation on the theme.
Dudek, of course, wasn't the only Team USA athlete in the Valentine's Day spirit. Perhaps only coincidentally, Olympic alpine skiing star Bode Miller wore red in this shot posted by his wife, Morgan.
Paratriathlete Mary Kate Callahan made her mark with her feet.
When a double run Sunday lands on 💞 day; you have to add a little pep to your step for run #2 of the day! pic.twitter.com/p1kZ7yWHUl— Mary Kate Callahan (@mkcallahan13) February 15, 2016
And 2012 Paralympic swimming gold medalist Mallory Weggemann started the day out like this:
This was how @factoryagency11 and I started our day today... A wonderful brunch and watching the Syracuse basketball game! I have to say, I am so incredibly thankful that this man is my forever Valentine! Remember to tell those you love just how much they mean to you, not only today but every other day as well! Hope everyone is having a wonderful Valentine's Day with their loved ones! #HappyValentinesDay
Congratulations are in order for one of the fastest women in the world, Natasha Hastings, who broke the U.S. women's 300-meter indoor record this past Sunday in Boston.
The mark she beat? Allyson Felix's. And who was one of the first to congratulate her?
Congrats Tasha! Great race🎉🎉 https://t.co/CupjjtqN3o— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) February 15, 2016
Team USA hurdler David Oliver also offered his kind words.
@natashahastings Go ahead with your bad self!!! Congrats— David Oliver (@doliversub13) February 14, 2016
Pair Takes Manhattan
Pairs skaters Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, the 2012 U.S. Nationals champions, spent the better part of a week in New York City, including for a show at "The World's Most Famous Arena," Madison Square Garden, on Valentine's Day. The duo also managed a side trip to a Manhattan wax museum, and to comedic results.
Strong Selfie Game
In "retirement," Olympic basketball gold medalist Reggie Miller jets around the country as a basketball analyst. In addition to proof that he's a pro in this second act, he's also added an enjoyable twist to his travels: the #SeatmateSelfie. Miller, the former Indiana Pacers star and one of the best shooters in history, shows off his camera shooting skills (selfies are a little easier when you're 6-foot-7) and introduces his Instagram fans to the random winners of this sort of lottery. This past week, Miller added two more.
LAX to CHI: Say hello to Bill Newby, born and raised in Los Angeles, lives with his significant other Kristi and 3 daughters Lindsay Caitlin and Samantha. Works as a Investment Banker but LOVES himself some Football. In fact his father attended the very first Super Bowl between Green Bay and Kansas City. His father told him, "it wasn't even sold out, was just something to do during the weekend".. Boy have times changed.. Bill can't wait for the Rams to "come home" and set up shop once again in LA. So I had to ask, "who are YOUR favorite QB's of all time?".. 1. Roger Staubach 2. Johnny Unitas 3. Bart Starr 4. Joe Montana 5. Dan Marino.. Very impressive list my friend. #SeatmateSelfie #KnowYourNeighbor #PlanesTrainsAutomobiles
CHI to CLE: Greetings to Jon Jacobson, the BIGGEST Cleveland Sports Fan. He works for Av-DEC, they sell airplane parts (I feel safe now).. So since he's the biggest fanatic, I had to know, "Is Cleveland a Browns, Cavs or Indians town?" No question, without hesitation he said, "BROWNS all the way!!" Jon went on to say, "Even thru the lean years and when they totally suck, the people of Cleveland love them some Browns".. Jon did say he's curious to see how the Cavs are in the 2nd half of the season under Coach Lue, "All the chips have been pushed to the middle of the table".. I asked Jon to name a legend(s) from each Pro Franchise: Browns is easy, Jim Brown and Bernie Kosar, Indians Bob Feller, Jim Thome and Cavs The King, Lebron James... BTW, Jon loves him some Buckeyes as well!!! #SeatmateSelfie #KnowYourNeighbor #PlanesTrainsAutomobiles
By their nature, TBTs bring out the best in us — highlights, milestones and good memories — but it's also fascinating to find that, 20 years later, an athlete with as many accomplishments to her name as NCAA and Olympic champion Rebecca Lobo can still tap in to that pressure to execute at the highest level.
So glad I didn't blow the assist! https://t.co/6pWIPtUUpn— Rebecca Lobo (@RebeccaLobo) February 18, 2016
Snowboarding legend and Olympian Shaun White confirmed earlier this week that he's aiming to compete in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, partially in an effort to make up for a disappointing competition in Sochi, where he finished out of the medals. White is also back this weekend with his Air+Style festival in Los Angeles. Last week, he was selling tickets at the USC bookstore, and leave it to White to put his own twist on publicity heading into the weekend.
One look at the ramp, and you'll see White is not looking for subtle:
Last month, in one of the more clever announcements, Olympic soccer gold medalist Sydney Leroux let it be known she was pregnant. So, how is she feeling? About average, which means she feels pretty much like she woke up after a late night of celebrating, and three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar can relate.
Another Olympic champion, beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings, does her best to put in to words what motherhood means at its best.
There is, of course, the other side, too. A few days earlier, Walsh Jennings posted a bit of comic relief from the chaos of a more trying parenting moment, courtesy her husband, Casey Jennings.
Remember The Name
Not only did skier River Radamus become the most decorated Team USA athlete in the history of the Youth Olympic Games, but he also proved to be quite the follow on social media. Radamus, who won gold in GS, Super-G and the alpine combined in Norway (he raced his final event of the Games on Friday), kicked off his 19th year in style. Though he took the pyrotechnics in stride.
So we meet again, follower. I had a pretty neat birthday party, but if I'm honest I think it was little overkill. @lillehammer2016 started tonight. Super-G tomorrow. @keely_cashman kicks out No.4 for ladies. I drop first for men. You can find the live stream somewhere online, (YouTube maybe?), or watch a daily recap on NBC at some point if you care to follow along. ---- @usskiteam @vvfoundation @pocsports @syncperformancefirst @rossignolracing #usskiteam #iLoveYOG
A few days later, with all that gold having been mined, his post on Instagram showed humility, class and gratitude, to the tune of more than 725 likes from just under 1,900 followers. Yes, that number is very likely to grow.
Hello again, follower. Have you missed me? I've missed you. Today was another great day. I somehow managed to win my third gold medal at @lillehammer2016 @youtholympics. This time in GS. Instagram captions can't properly articulate how I'm feeling right now, so I will leave you with a photo. /////// @keely_cashman races slalom tomorrow and I race the following day! I know I've said it before, but you have no idea how much your support means to us. Keep watching the NBC broadcasts and cheering on @teamusa! /////// P.S. A huge thank you to @tjrlanning for the sweet new @lalalaurenne suit I got to wear today! /////// @usskiteam @pocsports @rossignolracing @syncperformancefirst @vvfoundation #bandofheroes #iloveyog #neverbeenbetter