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."
We start this week off with an inspiring message of a pioneering plan posted by an inspiring pioneer herself. Billie Jean King's work has meant so much to so many that it's impossible to quantify or qualify. But if you read down even the relative sliver of evidence as you scroll down this page, understand that much of it is impossible without the opened doors.
44 years ago today the 37 words of #TitleIX changed our world forever and new doors provided access to inclusive new opportunities for all— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) June 23, 2016
High-Wattage Selfie Game
Ah, the Internet Holiday, we've had a few. Among them this past week: National Selfie Day, which caught fire with a good many Team USA athletes. For pure celebrity and the impact they've had on their respective sports on the world stage, it's hard to top Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps and golfer Tiger Woods, who played on seven Ryder Cup teams and managed to drop in on Rickie Fowler's selfie.
Because it's #NationalSelfieDay (via @RickieFowler on snapchat). pic.twitter.com/MoAig5ieAc— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) June 22, 2016
Fowler, incidentally, if the Olympic "cut" were made today, would qualify for the Team USA golf roster in Rio as the No. 4 U.S. player in the top 15 of the international rankings. That Team USA foursome in Rio, as of today, would include Jordan Spieth, newly minted U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.
King James Has Arrived
Three-time Olympic medalist LeBron James, often maligned for the rather flimsy basketball crime of reaching six consecutive NBA Finals without winning every last one of them, helped turn hard-luck Cleveland into history-making Believeland this past weekend. Not only did King James score 41 points in consecutive elimination games to keep the Cavs' hopes alive after they fell in a 3-1 series hole, but he recorded a triple double in the electrifying season finale to win another Finals MVP, this one over a team that won more regular games than any other team in NBA history.
In all, and along with FIBA World Cup MVP Kyrie Irving, James' was a virtuoso performance, full of drama, and one that absolutely carried social media coming out of the weekend. We replay the drama through the eyes of a wide range of Team USA athletes, from track athletes to gymnasts, from basketball stars to cyclists, swimmers and figure skaters who were glued to their (or their airport's or hotel's) video feed.
4:42 p.m. ...
Setting my alarm for 2am in Europe to watch the #NBAFinals! Who do you think will win? I'm #ALLin216 @cavs— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) June 19, 2016
6:54 p.m. ...
I got Warriors...... Game 7... Doesn't get much better than this as a fan.... Basketball on the possible day... #LikeAKidInACandyStore— Candace Parker (@Candace_Parker) June 19, 2016
7:38 p.m. ...
Safely in Vancouver for Canada Cup! But first, game 7! #NBAFinals #Game7 pic.twitter.com/MKenqA9vEo— Chuck Aoki (@Aoki5Chuck) June 19, 2016
7:50 p.m. ...
Bring home the GOLD @cavs! #Believeland #Allin216 #ALLinCLE #NBAFinals 🏆 pic.twitter.com/n1TUNw9VXc— Dominique Moceanu (@Dmoceanu) June 19, 2016
7:55 p.m. ...
The face u make when your flight pushes back& Game 7 is abt to start! How sway.. Keep me posted ❤️ Atl✈️ #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/HyfhVpBHin— Swin Cash (@SwinCash) June 19, 2016
7:40 p.m. ...
I'm amped for this game.— Alejandro Bedoya (@AleBedoya17) June 19, 2016
Who you got? #NBAFinals #Game7
7:54 p.m. ...
Cavs baby. All in!!!! Bron is in beast mode. #Allin #NBAfinals— Louie Vito (@louievito) June 19, 2016
8:13 p.m. ...
Let's GOOOOOO @warriors 🙌👊🙌👊🙌👊🙌👊🙌👊🙌👊🙌👊🙌👊🙌 https://t.co/PsQpGuLhAf— Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) June 20, 2016
9:33 p.m. ...
Lebron bout to take over second half !!— Brittney Reese (@DaLJBeast) June 20, 2016
9:50 p.m. ...
Big 11 point swing just now! #ALLin216 @KyrieIrving @KingJames @kevinlove— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) June 20, 2016
10:08 p.m. ...
Sorry I haven't been tweeting... It's Game 7...— Samantha Peszek (@samanthapeszek) June 20, 2016
10:16 p.m. ...
#Ballin What. A. Final. #NBAFinals— Jennie Finch (@JennieFinch) June 20, 2016
10:18 p.m. ...
Just got off my flight to catch the end of the @NBA finals. What a game. Airport huddle with all the other sports fans— Julie Chu (@juliechu13) June 20, 2016
10:22 p.m. ...
Cleveland needs to hurry up and win so I can eat my pizza in happiness.— Simone Manuel (@simone_manuel) June 20, 2016
10:27 p.m. ...
Flight attendants are delaying our take off so we can all hear the game score! Love it 🤘🏻 #NBAFinals #Game7— Elena Hight (@Elenahight) June 20, 2016
10:30 p.m. ...
This game is amazing. #NBAFinals— Morghan King (@kingmorghan) June 20, 2016
10:30 p.m. ...
Lebron wants this BAD— Jonathan Horton (@J_Horton11) June 20, 2016
10:31 p.m. ...
I'm just standing up in front of the TV. This game. Wow— Alejandro Bedoya (@AleBedoya17) June 20, 2016
10:31 p.m. ...
The entire season, comes down to one minute. What a game. #NBAFinals— Andrea Dvorak (@DreVorak) June 20, 2016
10:32 p.m. ...
This is unbelievable! #NBAFinals #Game7— Summer Sanders (@SummerSanders_) June 20, 2016
10:33 p.m. ...
Omgoodness!!! #Warriors #NBAFinals— Kristi Yamaguchi (@kristiyamaguchi) June 20, 2016
10:34 p.m. ...
My live stream stopped working!!!!!! Noooooo!!! #NBAFinals— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) June 20, 2016
10:36 p.m. ...
Kyrie.— Skylar Diggins (@SkyDigg4) June 20, 2016
10:38 p.m. ...
Wow ..... Welcome to immortality @KingJames https://t.co/eIsLs75yfk— andyroddick (@andyroddick) June 20, 2016
10:38 p.m. ...
June 20, 2016
10:38 p.m. ...
Let people talk bad about @KingJames now!!— Luke McDermott (@LJMcDermott6) June 20, 2016
10:39 p.m. ...
Champions! @CAVS! Drought is over! Thanks you did it! Congratulations!!! #Historyismade 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 #ALLinCLE #ALLin216 #nbafinals2016— Dominique Moceanu (@Dmoceanu) June 20, 2016
10:39 p.m. ...
#Believeland they did it!!!!!!!!!! HISTORY!!!!!! @cavs #unreal— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) June 20, 2016
10:40 p.m. ...
Landed just in time to witness this!!! #ALLin216 #CLEPROUD— Brianne McLaughlin (@BrianneMcL) June 20, 2016
10:40 p.m. ...
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Cavs!!!!! #ALLin216 #Believeland— morgan (@morgangtracey) June 20, 2016
10:44 p.m. ...
Congrats to the Cavs. What a tough one for the Warriors after a historic season. Still with ya #dubnation— Kristi Yamaguchi (@kristiyamaguchi) June 20, 2016
10:56 p.m. ...
Amazing season @warriors 🙌🏼 Wish it ended with the ring, but congratulations for inspiring so many 💙— Maggie Steffens (@maggiesteffens) June 20, 2016
12:15 a.m. ...
#mood pic.twitter.com/jsyhi2acrw— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) June 17, 2016
Wednesday was a very, very good day for Heather Erickson. Not only did the U.S. Women's Sitting Volleyball Team captain learn she had been named to her third Paralympic roster, but it was also announced hours later that she had ben nominated for a "Best Female Athlete with a Disability" ESPY.
Sitting Update: Erickson nominated for ESPY hrs after being named to the Paralympic roster: https://t.co/ONSCEKa3J3 pic.twitter.com/NObGVgEWqn— USA Volleyball (@usavolleyball) June 23, 2016
Next up, Team USA will travel to the Dutch Tournament in the Netherlands, where it will play a total of six matches, including against China, over the course of three days.
Memories of Olympics past came flooding back to Team USA athletes on Thursday in honor of Olympic Day, with images ranging the emotional gamut from fun, to encouraging, to heartfelt, to grateful, to powerful. We begin with powerful ...
#OlympicDay #tbt to the Beijing @USParalympics, a water cube & the late Jimi Flowers who is missed daily. #peaceout pic.twitter.com/VTdZ5Ph5Pr— Melissa Stockwell (@MStockwell01) June 23, 2016
In honor of the person who started it all. #OlympicDay @LA2024 @iocmedia #FollowTheSun pic.twitter.com/ELXNoIpDBI— Casey Wasserman (@caseywasserman) June 23, 2016
3 olympics, 3 amazing teammates. Sheila, you made more of an impact on my career than you could ever imagine. You taught me what it means to work hard, and be a competitor at the highest level. Thank you. @sstettinius, I didn't fully appreciate at the time how lucky I was to share so many memories with one of my best friends. I still laugh when I remember all of the craziness we got in to.😂🙈 And @isabellaisaksen , my sister, and partner in crime from the very beginning, I can't wait to share this one with you. Thanks to all you ladies for making this journey that much more enjoyable. #RoadtoRio #happyolympicday
Did you know today was #Olympicday go do something special to help us celebrate @Olympics run a lap swim one shoot some hoops— wallace spearmon jr (@PrinceSpearmon) June 23, 2016
Happy times with great people. Happy #OlympicDay. Looking forward to #SwimTrials16 in 3 days (Photos: @seanjuo) pic.twitter.com/qIEab8nZpQ— Nathan Adrian (@Nathangadrian) June 23, 2016
Happy #OlympicDay. For many these rings represent a childhood dream, a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, the pinnacle of sport, and success. To me they mean all these things and more. The Olympics, in my eyes, isn't about medals and sponsor dollars. To me it's about the world coming together for one moment to witness the triumph of the human spirit. It's a moment where our "differences" are nullified and we come together as a community of human beings to celebrate our brothers and sisters. It's about perseverance, failure, triumph, blood, sweat, and tears, overcoming adversity, and all odds to display hard work and humanity. So I hope you all join me today in celebrating these beautiful games that bring our world together united by the common language of sport!
Today is #OlympicDay ! Hope it was a good one for everyone! #GoTeamUSA— Dan Jansen (@danjansen94) June 24, 2016
Happy #OlympicDay friends. pic.twitter.com/l25c7tkicA— Mac Bohonnon (@MacBohonnon) June 24, 2016
Happy #OlympicDay 🇺🇸 .... Where the Greats come together💪🏾 #TeamUSA @usatf pic.twitter.com/kRdc6vjDib— Dawn Harper-Nelson (@DHarp100mH) June 23, 2016
#tbt to some goalies taking a stroll around Olympic Park @Vetter31 @schaus729 miss you fools! #OlympicDay pic.twitter.com/L6fRZkgaT7— Brianne McLaughlin (@BrianneMcL) June 23, 2016
No better way to celebrate #OlympicDay than with #LA84 mascot Sam, @LA2024 & aspiring athletes from all over LA 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/bFlw0Wh557— Janet Evans (@janetevans) June 23, 2016
Happy #OlympicDay from hundreds of aspiring athletes in Los Angeles @lacoliseum! pic.twitter.com/ka9ae7yJex— LA 2024 (@LA2024) June 23, 2016
By Sea, By Land
For countless reasons, Alana Nichols is a favorite in this space. Not only is she a Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair basketball and alpine skiing, but she's on the Road to Rio in the sport of paracanoe. Add to that her adventurous spirit, which extends occasionally to a sartorial selection, and you have among Team USA's must-follow social-media presences. This past week, she posted a pair, one by sea and one by land, of inspirational looks into her determination and spirit.
Todd Kapostasy is at it again. Tara Lipinski's now-fiancé, who proposed in one of the most creative and memorable ways imaginable, surprised the Olympic gold medalist figure skater with the trip of a lifetime ... while also scaring the wits out of her.
The pair set out a week ago on a trip that included a trip-of-a-lifetime itinerary for the bride-to-be: charming tiny towns, a stunning private vineyard, a stop in Rome (sure, why not?), off to Capri and a semi-terrifying ride on the Amalfi Coast, plus stops in Sicily and boat ride on the Tyrrhenian Sea. But ...
Lipinski didn't exactly enjoy the adventure that took her up and into the sky on a Mount Etna tram (ahem, a "rickety old cable car"). No, that nearly brought her right back to earth.
In The House
Win a championship and you might just be lucky enough to get The Call to the White House. This past week, Team USA's Solheim Cup winners made it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And they took a solid GIF game with them, including from Lexi Thompson, who is sets up as a medal threat on the golf course in Rio.
And, yes, President Obama played along, too.
Father's Day Tributes
Coming out of this past weekend, Father's Day tributes poured in from across the social media landscape, and we tried to find some of the most memorable.
U.S. men's soccer player Charlie Davies made his Team USA debut back in 2007, and his twin sons, Rhys and Dakota, made their debut this past March when they were born three months premature and at fewer than three pounds. Needless to say, Davies is thrilled with the progress.
My first Father's Day! So thankful for these little angels! #DaviesBabies #twins #FathersDay #MLSdad pic.twitter.com/vmA6vbgMgt— Charlie Davies (@CharlieDavies9) June 19, 2016
Father's Day activities 👶🏽🔄 #DaviesBabies #twins #FathersDay pic.twitter.com/vUEi7aPba5— Charlie Davies (@CharlieDavies9) June 19, 2016
For Erik Shoji, volleyball is a family affair, and at its heart is longtime Hawaii coach Dave Shoji, who has coached the program since 1975 and is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball history. (On Tuesday, both Erik and brother Kawika learned they had been named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Volleyball Team that will play for gold in Rio.)
For skeleton athlete Samantha Culiver, the quads don't fall far from the tree ...
Olympic gymnast Jonathan Horton: Four. Generations.
And Jordan Burroughs, who, with his adorable postings of his young son and now newborn daughter, has stolen a few hearts along the way to and from his gold-medal moments in London, shared an honest slice of life so many fathers can understand.
All I want for Father's Day is not to listen to the Gummy Bear song on car rides anymore.— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) June 19, 2016
When we last checked in with Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington, she was was bidding adieu to her followers for the month while climbing North America's highest peak. Well, she's back. And the pictures she came back with are glorious.
Line Up Line Dance
Congratulations are in order not just for Team USA's successful volleyball showing in Long Beach, California, but also for this ...
#USAVwnt #dancedowntorio as part of training this AM. @TeamUSA plays #Turkey at 5 pm in #LongBeach. #USAVolley2016 pic.twitter.com/OjqjguKzUJ— USA Volleyball (@usavolleyball) June 19, 2016
The No. 1-ranked FIVB team in the world, Team USA went 3-0 through Sunday and now travels to Hong Kong for the FIVB World Grand Prix event from June 24-26.
American Record On Deck
You may very well be looking at the future holder of an American record, and Roy Perkins may not take long to get there, either.
Two-time Olympic ice hockey player Patrick Kane said before the NHL Awards ceremony on Wednesday night that, "To be the first American to win it would be special." He was referring to the Hart Trophy, the NHL's version of the Most Valuable Player award, which had not ever been handed out to a U.S.-born player in the history of the league. That all changed when Kane accepted the award from ... Batman.
Kane also added a bling-worthy selfie of his own:
Kane's trophy win also caught the eye of a certain superfan.
Parrothead Patrick Kane becomes the 1st American player to ever! to win the Hart trophy. Amazing. Fins up Patrick pic.twitter.com/1tv2B70w7a— Jimmy Buffett (@jimmybuffett) June 23, 2016
When you need a caption, Team USA, the internet got ya. For Olympic bobsled medalist Steve Langton, for a pair of the more intimidating legs on the planet, comments were priceless: "Got like 6 knee caps" ... "quadzilllaaaa!! ... "Can't spell legendary without leg day"
Earlier this week, Olympic gold medalist basketball star Kevin Durant returned to the University of Texas in Austin, and he came bearing gifts: new kicks.
Back on UT's campus today. I have a surprise for the students. First 9 people to the Gregory gym get the prize. #KD9— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 21, 2016
Love my UT family. Giveaways claimed. #KD9 pic.twitter.com/W5faouBGVC— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 21, 2016
KD also paid tribute to Austin (and the "Keep Austin Weird" motto) while introducing the KD9.
Austin has always showed me love. I appreciate you letting me share the #KD9 with you. Check it out! pic.twitter.com/rlf63PFE8Y— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 22, 2016