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."
Ah, spring in Colorado. One can never be sure what a spring week in the Centennial State will bring. During a time of year and in a place where 30-degree daily temperature swings aren't at all rare, a hike up the infamous Manitou Incline, a seemingly vertical climb up nearly 3,000 steps near United States Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs, can be a roll of the dice. Give Olympic water polo gold medalist Maggie Steffens and her teammates, including Courtney Mathewson, Makenzie Fischer and Sami Hill, credit for braving the elements heading into last weekend.
After not being in snow for almost 1️⃣0️⃣ years, only fitting to hike up 2,774 steps with your team in full snow fall! ❄️ #incline LOVE the journey and LOVE the people you share it with 💙 Lucky to always have this gal by my side 👭 @clkmathewson #6and7 #slippinandfallin #team #icantfeelmylegs @usawp @teamusa
"A journey of a 1,000 miles, begins with a single step..." Or overcoming nearly 3,000! #incline 🙌🏼 || A great step on our #RoadToRio with an inspirational and tough training week at the Olympic Training Center! Memories of a lifetime ❄️ Now back to California, and sea level!! #altitude #team @usawp @teamusa
Mathewson captured the scene as a panorama.
Back To The Pool
Team USA returned to the water this week, only to be joined by three-time Olympic soccer medalist Julie Foudy. In an inflatable doughnut. Turns out, there were enough doughnuts for everyone.
May, The Fourth
It sneaks up on many this time of year: May 4. As in, May, the fourth, which very easily becomes a Star Wars homage writ large for fans of the movie on social media. As has become tradition, timelines offer a few sneaky subtle glances in to the relative Star Wars nerd quotient of Team USA athletes.
Olympic gold medalist swimmer — and self-professed nerd — Nick Thoman doesn't go very long without posting some sort of Star Wars reference, so it should come as little surprise that he didn't miss a chance to mark the occasion. Considering his clear devotion to Star Wars movie references, he's earned the right to go subdued on this one.
May the Forth be with you.— Nick Thoman (@Nick_Thoman) May 4, 2016
Olympic hopeful Sarah Beard, whose father was a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, went a clever route.
Happy 5/4 my lovely padawans 💙 pic.twitter.com/dvX5CrZvUI— Sarah Beard (@sarah_beard10x) May 4, 2016
Paralympic star swimmer Brad Snyder also has to be nominated as a "Best 'May The Fourth Be With You' Post" candidate.
Add Author To His Talents
Congratulations are in order for Snyder, too, for more than the unofficial 2016 social media "May the fourth be with you" award. In addition to Paralympian, U.S. Naval Academy alum and inspiration, he's now officially an author, too.
A pair of Olympic snowboarders took a a spring path down essentially the same trail. Turns out both Jamie Anderson and Louie Vito had Mammoth's hot springs on their minds.
Just another day at the office for Olympic diving hopeful Kassidy Cook.
A little core strength training today. 5 sets of 8-10 ought to get the job done💪🏽💯 pic.twitter.com/H3QL7IdF1M— Kassidy Cook (@KassidyCook1) May 4, 2016
'Hole In One
Three-time Paralympic medalist and world-record holder in the long jump Lex Gillette has a new hobby.
Paying It Forward
Thanks to three-time Olympian and four-time gold medalist Greg Louganis, this Olympic cycle's divers have quite the resource at their disposal.
Flipping For Holland
Team USA athletes are so often exactly that: athletes. They happen to be elite stars in their chosen fields, but many of them have trained in or dabbled in other sports, too. Take Alise Post, for example. The Olympic BMX racer, who is training this week in the Netherlands, looks awfully comfortable as a gymnast.
Speaking of Olympic BMX racers in the Netherlands, this would be a good time to wish Brooke Crain a happy 23rd birthday.
23!! My first birthday I've ever spent away from home (which is kinda crazy for how much I travel). Spent it in the gym and in the rain🙃.. This birthday kinda hit me on how fortunate I am. I had people from all over the world message me!❤️ My team mates & friends here in Holland made this day wonderful. My families post's back home made me smile and everyone else who took the time to wish me a great day, thank you! #itsalldownhillfromhere #old #7yearscloserto30 🍕🍫💕
Feeling A Draft
With the Texans on the clock in this past week's NFL draft, Simone Biles, who calls nearby Spring, Texas, home, pitched in to make a trio of selections for her hometown team, the Nos. 119, 159 and 166 overall.
Biles, who you may remember made quite the entrance at a 2015 Texans game, also enjoyed a tour of NRG Stadium.
For Eaton's Next Challenge ...
Not only can Olympic decathlon champion and world-record holder Ashton Eaton perform at an elite level in 10 events, but he can also perform magic. In this case, he's using his powers for domestic cleanup, turning with the snap of his fingers a neglected backyard in to a triumph over a honey-do list.
Not only is four-time Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross taking a long, enjoyable round of last laps in her competitive track career, but she has a hashtag to prove it: #SRRFinalLap. In the case of this past weekend, she made her final Penn Relays a family affair.
Not to be lost in the good times, however, was the fact that this was a business trip for Richards-Ross, who along with Natasha Hastings, DeeDee Trotter and Phyllis Francis ran away with the 4x400 crown in front of more than 40,000 fans.
Team USA's men also took first in the 4x400.
Recently named to the USA Luge National Team that will compete during the 2016-17 season, Olympians Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman spent part of the week in San Diego, of all places, going through aerodynamic testing in a wind tunnel powered by a giant fan (more on that later).
According to Terdiman, after 26 tests over nine hours, the pair learned "a lot ... about what we want to do with our equipment in the future." (And he added a #MenInTights hashtag.) For a sense of the sheer size of propeller required to make a decent headwind, check out USA Luge's photo:
From Cleveland, With Love (And LeBron)
The second round of the NBA Playoffs is underway, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are rolling. The only team to have swept their first-round series and open up a 2-0 lead in the second, the Cavs have reason to smile with some Team USA firepower. After their Game 1 win over the Atlanta Hawks, three-time Olympic gold medalist LeBron James celebrated in this Vine with, after Toronto native (No. 13) Tristan Thompson, 2014 FIBA World Cup MVP Kyrie Irving and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kevin Love.
Run For The Roses
It's Derby season, with the most exciting two minutes in sports, along with its mint juleps, big hats and sartorial statements, kicking off the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs. Olympic figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir arrived early.
We'll check in next week with the duo.