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."
G.O.A.T., Power Forward Edition
This past week has been reserved for taking stock of the careers of contemporary stars who are leaving lasting impressions on the sports they play. In basketball, Tim Duncan, among the most humble superstars the sports world has known, called it a career. Through the eyes of his competitors on social media, we can see just how significant an impact he had on the game.
Timmie D! Congrats on an Unbelievable career! Thanks for inspiring us all with just your PLAY! #GreatestPowerforwardtoeverplaythisgame— DWade (@DwyaneWade) July 11, 2016
Thanks Timmie, 19 years of GREATNESS.. #QuietWarrior— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) July 11, 2016
Upset at Tim Duncan we didn't get to honor him at a Mavs Spurs game. Happy I've had the opportunity to witness his greatness so often— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) July 11, 2016
G.O.A.T., Tennis Edition
Olympic gold medalist and tennis legend Serena Williams did it again at Wimbledon. Another major. A remarkable 22 singles titles. She said recently that she has been fueled by the feeling she's an underdog, which on the surface may seem incongruent with that success. But, honestly, there aren't many more sturdy building blocks for a work ethic. Her social media game also seems to be rolling along.
Beginning with her first Wimbledon-related post two weeks ago, Williams has been running up hundreds of thousands of likes on Instagram.
Including that post of a Wimbledon dress, which earned 140,000 likes, her next 10 posts generated well over 1.5 million likes. Two consecutive posts accounted for more than half a million on their own in the wake of the Wimbledon win:
Since, Williams has posted a pair of workout videos, including the one below, with comedian Kevin Hart, earning another 500,000 or so likes.
G.O.A.T., Goaltender Edition
Solo. For a goaltender, it's a fitting surname. And, now, two-time Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo, back at one often lonely end of the pitch, standing between some of the best women's players in the world and a Team USA win. This past week, she became the first goaltender — man or woman — to record 100 shutouts. The milestone win brought out the best ...
Much respect 2 @hopesolo on her shutout record. What a milestone. The best GK in the world. Well done my friend. Let's go win Gold now. #100— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) July 9, 2016
Yes! #22 ✊🏾 https://t.co/wcpeDkaE0v— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) July 9, 2016
💯 shutouts for @hopesolo and the only one in the world to do it! Congrats!! Let's go get some more 😊— Kelley O'Hara (@kohara19) July 10, 2016
Amazing achievement @hopesolo, congratulations on 100 shutouts!— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) July 9, 2016
Congrats @hopesolo. More shutouts than many players have caps.— Meghan Klingenberg (@meghankling) July 10, 2016
And this is ... So. Good.
Trending On Track
This past weekend also saw another edition of Olympic dreams unfold in the Pacific Northwest for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field, at one point landing the event among three of the top six trending topics on Twitter (@Lagat1500, @DevonAllen13 and, somewhat unfortunately, @doliversub13).
For distance runner Bernard Lagat, make it five Olympics. Wow. The 41-year-old came from behind the leaders in the 5,000-meter to record an improbable win and add another line to an enviable Olympic resume.
College hurdles standout Devon Allen, running for the Ducks and hard to miss in his bright yellow jersey, became the first collegiate runner to win the 110-meter hurdles in decades. If it's possible to calculate joy in a tweet, this has to rank pretty high:
I'm going to RIO! 🐤🐥🇧🇷🇧🇷— Devon Allen (@DevonAllen13) July 10, 2016
Allen's Twitter star is on the rise, too.
The Duck may also have to be warned about the size of any entourage in Rio.
And talk about a family overcoming hurdles: Jeff Porter made Team USA in the 110 hurdles, while his wife, Tiffany Porter, competing for Great Britain in the 100-meter hurdles, qualified in late June. Tiffany's sister also qualified in the 100 hurdles.
The gold medalist in the 110 hurdles at the Pan Am Games, David Oliver, however, wasn't able to compete in the event.
Devastated I couldn't run the final, hurt left hammy in the semi, but thats part of the game. Hats off to the great guys we're sending!— David Oliver (@doliversub13) July 10, 2016
One of the fastest women in the world, Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, ran into her share of disappointment, too.
My heart aches that I won't be able to defend my title in Rio in the 200m. It was my dream to go after the double, but I know God's plan is greater than anything I could imagine. An enormous thank you for the continued love & support. Looking forward to getting back to 100% and attacking this 400. Big congrats Tori, Deajah and Jenna! 📸: @kellielynno
"They just stapled her head." - Justin Timberlake
JT (more on him later, and thank you) offered this aside as he was introducing retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Team USA living legends Abby Wambach and Kobe Bryant as winners of the 2016 Icon Award. You see, part of the trio's video tribute included a clip of Wambach's forehead leaking blood after a collision on the pitch led to a trainer rather gruesomely stapling the cut closed so she could continue playing. Consider Timberlake impressed.
The three G.O.A.T.s, with Wambach and Bryant owning two Olympic gold medals each, were honored Wednesday night, proving, yet again, that when there's a gathering to honor some of the top sports moments of the previous year, chances are good there will be a Team USA presence.
Skylar Diggins, who played for Team USA at the 2012 worlds and presented the award for Best Play with Usher, checked in on the commute to the show.
Olympic gold medalist sprinter Carmelita Jeter checked in from the red carpet.
To kick off the show, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who share between them 10 Olympic appearances and seven gold medals, delivered a powerful message.
For U.S. Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks, the Road to Rio has been uniquely difficult. After severe hip injuries sustained while in Iraq, four surgeries in under two years and being placed in an induced coma at a British hospital because of a lung condition, Marks was honored with the Pat Tillman Award for Service. Her composed, emotional speech left many, including host John Cena, with tears.
Team USA also brought more than a little fun to the proceedings. And if there's a little fun to be had, odds are Olympic hurdler and bobsled star Lolo Jones will make an appearance.
Four-time gold medalist basketball star Lisa Leslie presented an award honoring her alma mater, USC, for its excellence in women's sports this past school year. She also honored excellence in show preparation.
While she didn't present, Olympic soccer gold medalist Sydney Leroux Dwyer made it, too. Make that ... two.
Olympic gold medalist boxer Claressa Shields caught up with Dream Teamer and two-time Olympian Charles Barkley.
Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Jamie Anderson added to her adventure with a parting gift: Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
So thankful on so many levels! ✨✨✨ I wouldn't be where I am today without the love, support & encouragement of my family, friends & of course my sponsors! Thanks for making my Dreams a reality! Unbelievably grateful. #espys #4thespy @jovanifashions (dress) @jovani_la @csarite (jewelry) @greymerofficial (shoes) Hair & makeup @tanikaisgangsta
Eleven-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden was in the house as a winner, too, in the category of Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
We did it!!!!!!!!!!! My very first #espy. Thank you @espn for putting on a great #espys. You know when it's a great show when you laugh and cry in one night!!! Tonight was about celebration and memories. Thank you to everyone who voted!!!! It really takes a village. I love what I do every single day!!!! God is so good and has brought me so much to my life. Thank you everyone for the wonderful love and support ❤️🇺🇸
On the men's side, the also-awesome Richard Browne, a Paralympic multiple-distance world-record holder, took a little victory lap for himself.
And the Espy goes toooooooo......— Richard Browne Jr (@winged_foot) July 14, 2016
As for one of the best women's soccer players in the world, Carli Lloyd, who was nominated in the category of Best Championship Performance, why was she not in attendance? Guess ...
Too close to Olympics. Rio mode. 😳 https://t.co/BxxwlRyqNH— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) July 14, 2016
The awards show also gave Olympic gold medalist figure skater Scott Hamilton a wonderful platform: The Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.
Not only is Timberlake happy with how Team USA's supremely entertaining lip sync video rendition of his supremely catchy summertime hit "Can't Stop The Feeling" turned out, but he went ahead and tweeted his enthusiastic review, with seven exclamation points, no less, to his 55 million followers.
Tetering On Summer
Snowboarder Hannah Teter knows how to winter, clearly. Over the past winter alone, the Olympic gold medalist has posted dozens of epic snow pics, from powder dumps in her backyard to snowboarding pics to taking snow baths. But Teter also knows how to summer in Tahoe. This time, with a pirate hat.
Miles Of Trials
At long last, Team USA's gymnastics squads are set. With the men's team selected, the women's Olympic Trials were held this past weekend in San Jose. Like the men, drama mounted as soon as the final rotation closed.
The meet concluded with Laurie Hernandez's beam routine, followed almost immediately by an emotional hug between Aly Raisman and Simone Biles, who finished first by a wide margin. And ... then ...
USA gymnastics.... The waiting game.— Julie Chu (@juliechu13) July 11, 2016
One closed door for deliberation, then another for breaking the news to the team.
This is taking way toooooooo long!— Kellie Brinkley (@KellieWellz) July 11, 2016
I'm a huge jumble of emotions right now.— Amanda Everlove (@A_Elove) July 11, 2016
Then it was over. Now, Rio awaits for Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian. Considering the lineup, history may be waiting for them, too.
AHHHHHH CAN'T BELIEVE IT. So much hard work went into this incredible moment. Ready for the next chapter with these girls. GO USA— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) July 11, 2016
Kudos for inspiring fellow athletes:
What Can You Make Out Of This?
It's an old movie, yes, but fans of Dream Teamer Scottie Pippen jumped all over the many fantastic lines that came out of priceless cameo performance from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Airplane!.
I'm no Roger Murdock but I'm the co-pilot. pic.twitter.com/ERa0S1EvQJ— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) July 10, 2016
Among the beauties ...
@y2ej72: @ScottiePippen you don't play hard enough on defense and you don't even run down court and you only tried in the playoffs
@JonGoldbergNY: @ScottiePippen What's your vector Victor?
@bpo1987: @ScottiePippen My dad says you only try hard in the playoffs.
Not many athletes, let alone newborns, have 55,000 Twitter followers. But such is the life of one Boomer Phelps. And he's not a bad follow, either.
For at least the next few months, though, he'll need some assistance in the pool. Luckily, he has a capable swimmer in the family.
Now And Again
How great is this? Kim Rhode, already a five-time Olympian, posted a This Is Your Life moment.
J.J. Watt is a 6-foot-5, 289-pound freak of massive, speedy disruptive NFL force. This past NFL season, he recorded 17.5 sacks and has a staggering 74.5 in his five pro seasons. Watt also scored three touchdowns as a receiver on offense in 2015, and he ranks in the top 10 among NFL merchandise sales, making him one of the most popular and recognizable athletes in sports. Certainly, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is sports royalty in is NFL hometown of Houston. But he can see some heat in the form of the electrifying, 4-foot-9 Biles edging into the spotlight.