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."
Bowe's Green Day
Timelines brimmed Thursday with the joys of St. Patrick's Day, with Team USA athletes sharing not only their holiday images, but also their thoughts on the March 17holiday.
One Team USA athlete took her appreciation for the holiday all the way to Ireland. Only a few days removed from winning the ISU Speed Skating Grand World Cup title in the Netherlands, Brittany Bowe had arrived in the Emerald Isle. And, on Thursday, she was taking in the St. Patrick's Day parade with her mom in Dublin.
This has been quite a week for Bowe, who was also named one of seven finalists for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award on Wednesday (along with Olympic gold medalist wrestler Jordan Burroughs and Rio multi-medal gymnastics favorite Simone Biles). In addition to the parade in Dublin, she also visited the Book of Kells, St. Stephen's Green, and perhaps the most appropriate location for St. Patrick's Day:
Bowe's mom had a pretty good week, too.
The Sharin' Of The Green
Of course, Bowe wasn't alone in paying attention to St. Patrick's Day …
Two-time Olympic ice hockey player and Team USA captain Meghan Duggan took her throwback across the pond, too:
2012 Olympian and 2016 rowing hopeful Gevvie Stone aimed for style:
Olympic medalist ice dancer and noted Michigan supporter Charlie White, on the other hand, continues to bleed maize and blue:
And three-time Olympic medalist swimmer Ricky Berens simply forgot to set the alarm:
I always forget to wear green on #StPatricksDay.— Ricky Berens (@RickyBerens) March 17, 2016
But you know who may have had the best St. Patrick's Day? Claressa Shields. The Flint-born boxing star didn't just turn 21. The winner of Team USA's first women's boxing gold also qualified for her second Olympic Games.
St. Patrick's Day also coincided with the first day of the NCAA Tournament, an event that will no doubt come up with so many of the themes that make sport so compelling: dramatic competition, storybook endings, elite athletes changeling elite athletes, joy, defeat, underdog stories, dynasty stories. A lifetime of preparation often hinges on a day of work. Team USA athletes can relate. Add to their own NCAA allegiances, and you have a fantastic social media presence.
Unabashed Michigan State fan and four-time Olympic triathlete Hunter Kemper, who already celebrated one Spartans title on Twitter to the tune of more than 1,500 likes, clearly has Sparty on his mind.
Keep an eye on Team USA soccer defender Michael Parkhurst's bracket. By the time you read this, it might already be busted.
Only a couple hours until my perfect bracket dreams are crushed once again... pic.twitter.com/4oNRqzrkdT— Michael Parkhurst (@MFparkhurst) March 17, 2016
Having played during one of UConn's many glory eras, three-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird, whose teams went an almost absurd 114-4 in her career, could relate:
Nothing better than live sports on the west coast. Eggs, coffee & #MarchMadness— Sue Bird (@S10Bird) March 17, 2016
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Swin Cash had one of the better seats in the house, as an analyst, and she caught for and early-round selfie.
The Road to Rio is often a grueling one. And therein lies the point to some degree. Timelines that make the Team USA follows so compelling at the ones showing, one image at a time, just how hard these athletes are working to represent their country. This week, we give you Ryan Lochte, already accomplished beyond the dreams of many (11 Olympic medals, including five golds, in three Games, with world championships dating back to 2005), working to the point of collapse.
Horton's Rocky Recovery
Two-time Olympic gymnast Jonathan Horton's Road to Rio had been derailed recently, and, after undergoing surgery, his long road to recovery has started out as a difficult one. Ever positive, he turned it in to a chance at a public service announcement, of sorts.
I'm in the middle of maybe the worse pain and worst night of my life right now. For some reason this surgery has been the most painful one I have ever had. I have slept 15 minutes total in this position. I tell you all this not because I want sympathy. I'm telling you this to say Rotator cuff surgery sucks! Athletes, remember that stretching and daily rest and recovery practices are crucial. You can't always prevent injuries but those two things can certainly help. I'll be okay and I'm looking forward to the journey back. Thanks @wlowe57 for putting me back together again.
Another Internet Win For Leroux
There won't be on-the-field wins and losses for Sydney Leroux, but she certainly has made a habit lately of rolling up wins on the internet. Most recently, she posted a clever way to announce, to the tune of more than 80,000 likes, that she and Dom Dwyer were having a …
To see it in real time, check out the video:
This is a golf season like no other. With Rio qualifying on the line, each tournament on both the LPGA and PGA tours takes on that much more significance. Two Rio hopefuls, Jordan Spieth, who is coming off one of the great seasons in PGA Tour history, and Lexi Thompson, who is already near the top of the LPGA Tour money list after a handful of tournaments, as it turns out, share a bit of junior golf history. Back in 2008, The Club at Olde Stone hosted the Junior Ryder Cup, with Spieth and Thompson part of a Team USA that dominated the tournament.
As part of a promotional day in New York City, the duo was together again, and they shared a virtual walk down memory lane, back to a time when Spieth was 15 and Thompson was 13.
By way of a storybook competition at the 1984 Olympic Games — all-around champion, silver in the team and vault, and bronze in the uneven bars and floor exercise — the 4-foot-9 Mary Lou Retton became one of the biggest stars in Team USA history. She met the president, appeared in movies, was named "Sportswoman of the Year" and became the first female athlete to grace the front of a Wheaties box.
These days, she considers herself, by way of her Twitter bio, "a very small person.. mom of 4 daughters, wife of 25yrs. 1984 Olympic Champion." So, when one of her daughters succeeds, it's easy to play the part of a proud mother. Daughter Emma gave her reason to smile this past week in Texas.
Known obviously and quite rightly for her work in the pool, which includes, oh, five Olympic appearances and 12 medals, Dara Torres even goes by @swimdara on social media. But her timeline this past week has shown off a few different pursuits. "Workout #2," involved boxing training, and she enters the weekend training for a celebrity car race that will take place next month in California. She's also a previous winner of the race, as is the fictional Shooter McGavin.
In addition to McDonald, Torres will be joined in the race by a number of previous winners:
Pi Day Birthday
Happy birthday, Miss Biles. Biles, one of the most interesting athletes to follow prior to the Rio Games earned many, many birthday wishes on social media, but few were more creative than that of Olympic gymnast John Orozco.
Welcome To China
The World ParaVolley Intercontinental Cup, which will serve as a Paralympic Games qualifier, is underway as of March 17.
One of the nice things about being halfway around the world: You get a Thursday sweep of an opponent out of the way before most Team USA fans are even awake on their own Thursdays in the United States. Congratulations to the U.S. Women's Sitting Volleyball Team, which swept Rwanda. A showdown between Team USA and the host country, featuring two of world's top-three teams, according to the Rolling World Ranking, took place Friday morning. Team USA's men fell in its opener against China, and the tournament runs through March 23.
As #TheBachelor trended on Twitter in the United States for about eight solid hours to start the week, Team USA was also tuning in (well, not everyone). Few with more enthusiasm than three-time Olympic gold medalist and Bachelor Nation representative Rowdy Gaines.
I knew it was Lauren B!!! #TheBachelorFinale— Rowdy Gaines (@RowdyGaines) March 15, 2016
Best Bachelor season yet— Rowdy Gaines (@RowdyGaines) March 15, 2016
All you Bachelor haters...try it you'll like it! #BachelorFinale— Rowdy Gaines (@RowdyGaines) March 15, 2016
Calm down, I like #Bachelor AND Game of Thrones!— Rowdy Gaines (@RowdyGaines) March 15, 2016
On the other hand …
I feel like I'm the only woman in America that isn't watching #TheBachelorFinale right now...actually never watched one episode. Ever.— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) March 15, 2016
The odds are slim. You’ll make mistakes, wrong turns and have to start over. You’ll definitely want to quit, more than once. There will be more hard days than easy ones. You’ll be misunderstood, judged and criticized. It will probably cost you more than you have…press on. #Hungry #Determined #Focused #IAmPureWill #TeamCAF #CrossFit858 #NikeWomen #RoadToRio
Hockey Vs. Figure Skates
Leave it to brother and sister ice dancing duo Maia and Alex Shibutani, whose parents met while attending Harvard, to take advantage of some ice in Beantown for a skating lesson. But a non-traditional skating lesson, at that. (And not bad for Alex's first time in hockey skates in more than a decade.)
After two months on the road competing (China, Norway, South Korea, Canada, Massachusetts, Colorado, Switzerland), Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Jamie Anderson has returned to the beautiful Lake Tahoe. It didn't take her long to grab the SUP.
Meanwhile, Olympic BMX racer Alise Post is on the road, but did manage to find a little time to relax and enjoy the view.
For emotion leading to the Olympic Games, this is going to be hard to beat ...