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Red, White & Trending: June 17-23

By Jamie MacDonald | June 24, 2016, 2:08 p.m. (ET)

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."

Opening Statement

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.

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.

The little man didn't wanna miss national selfie day!! @boomerrphelps #nationalselfieday

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

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.

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Seeing Double

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.

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 ...

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!

A photo posted by Jeremy Abbott (@idreamofjeremy) on

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.

By Air

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.

What a great video of us at the Lincoln Memorial 😜 #teamusa #DCtrip

A video posted by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

And, yes, President Obama played along, too.

Thank you @barackobama for celebrating our Solheim Cup victory with us! #AMERICA #GoPuns #HawaiiNoKaOi #salute

A video posted by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

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.

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 ...

Happy Fathers Day to the man I clearly take after!! #fathersday #dadsthatlift #squats

A photo posted by Samantha Culiver (@seesamslide) on

100kg deficit dead lift for 5... Last lift of the day so I was exhausted at this point. #skeleton #training

A video posted by Samantha Culiver (@seesamslide) on

Olympic gymnast Jonathan Horton: Four. Generations.

4 generations of Horton men. Happy Father's Day! #fathersday #Horton #davidtravis

A photo posted by Jonathan Horton (@jhorton11) on

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.

Summit County

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.

What an amazing adventure...! #Denali #klassyadventures

A photo posted by @kaitlynfarr on

Mountain walksπŸ—» #klassyadventures

A photo posted by @kaitlynfarr on

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 ...

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:

MVP selfie 🎬

A photo posted by Chicago Blackhawks (@nhlblackhawks) on

Kane's trophy win also caught the eye of a certain superfan.

Caption This

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"

Would have been a sweet shot if I didn't chop off my head. Love these Up North trails. #wisconsinlife

A photo posted by SDL (@stevenlangton) on

Treasure Hunt

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.

KD also paid tribute to Austin (and the "Keep Austin Weird" motto) while introducing the KD9.

Related Athletes

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Michael Phelps

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LeBron James

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Heather Erickson

Sitting Volleyball
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Alana Nichols

Alpine Skiing
Wheelchair Basketball
US Paralympics
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Charlie Davies

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Erik Shoji

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Samantha Culiver

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Jonathan Horton

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Kaitlyn Farrington

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Roy Perkins

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Patrick Kane

Ice Hockey
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Steve Langton

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Kevin Durant