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."
With more caps than any goaltender in Team USA history, Tim Howard's place in United States soccer history is already secure. His success in the English Premier League is also the stuff of legends for a U.S.-born player. This past week, however, Howard called it a career after a decade at Everton, but not before posting a heartfelt so-long that received more than 20,000 likes on Twitter.
EVERTON, you have become a part of my soul. You'll forever be in my heart. COYB!!!— tim howard (@TimHowardGK) May 15, 2016
Tim Howard pic.twitter.com/THEWMlQZxs
Add another 6,000-plus likes for this run of priceless shots from Goodison:
Incredible farewell at Goodison yesterday. All I can say is THANK YOU!!!! pic.twitter.com/pGOSOeSrRg— tim howard (@TimHowardGK) May 16, 2016
Mere days later, Howard had returned to the States to train with Team USA in Miami prior to a May 22 friendly in Puerto Rico.
Congratulations are in order for USA Triathlon's Joe Maloy. And not just for the fantastically succinct Twitter handle of "@joetriathlon." Maloy qualified for Rio this past week after an 11th-place finish at the ITU World Triathlon Yokohama in Japan. Back home on the southern coast of New Jersey, he was treated to quite a party.
Ben Kanute qualified, too, wand his reaction gives us yet another prism through which to view the Olympic athlete's journey: shock.
Despite not finishing the race, Greg Billington accumulated enough points to also qualify for Rio, a dream he has openly admitted is nearly 20 years in the making. No small accomplishment for someone who has broken both arms and a femur. And yet it wasn't long before he reminded us all about the kind of competitive makeup an elite athlete needs to compete with the very best in the world.
Among the odd men out after this past week's competition in Japan was Eric Lagerstrom, who admitted it would take some time to process but displayed nothing but class after the competition.
The merry, merry month of May will have been plenty good to Olympic figure skater Polina Edmunds. Not only did the California teen wrap up a springtime stint with Stars on Ice (though she did miss her prom in the process), but she also turned 18 this week ...
... and will graduate from high school later this month. In the fall, she's set to attend Santa Clara University in San Jose, California, while training to compete at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Doctor, Doctor ... And, Doctor
Olympian. Gold Medalist. Soccer Star. Author. Television Analyst. To those, add "Dr.," however honorary, to the titles by which Abby Wambach might respond.
Considering her aim on the field as one of the best players in the history of the game, Wambach's selfie aim could use some work. Though she did leave some room for a header.
The commitment to seeking out every ounce of aerodynamic advantage is a pursuit that does hibernate in the offseason for Team USA's top bobsledders. And without a bobsled course on which to train, they can bring the headwind to them in the form of a giant wind tunnel in the NASCAR hotbed of Charlotte, North Carolina. The need for speed looks like this:
And this ...
On To Paris
Olympic gold medalist and tennis star Serena Williams reached a milestone this past week at the Italian Open. Her selfie game is pretty strong, too.
Next up for the No. 1 women's player in the world are the iconic red clay courts of Roland Garros and the French Open. If you're wondering what she'll be wearing, check out the Paris Collection pics she posted on Twitter.
On To Athens
USA Curling national team member Jamie Sinclair is on the road this week, too, having traveled from Minnesota to London to Greece. Officially, that's Minneapolis > Chicago > Toronto; Toronto > London; London > Athens. And without being pickpocketed this time.
Day 1: MSP ✈️ ORD ✈️ YYZ Day 2: YYZ ✈️ LHR Day 3: LGW ✈️ ATH pic.twitter.com/tVQlW7s44w— Jamie Sinclair (@jamiesinclair21) May 16, 2016
Last time I was at the London Heathrow airport I got pickpocketed so I'd say it's a successful trip this time thus far! 👌🏻— Jamie Sinclair (@jamiesinclair21) May 17, 2016
Translation: 'I Can Do It'
Eleven-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden, in the midst of winning what seems to be marathon after marathon, including Boston and London in the past two months, managed to write a book: "Ya Sama! Moments from My Life." This past week, McFadden curled up with her good book and knocked out a few hundred autographs.
Charlie Houchin earned Olympic gold as a member of Team USA's 4×200-meter freestyle team in London, and he's also the CEO of a software development company. How either prepared him for this, however, we're not quite sure, but he pulls off the look with aplomb.
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock ...
Like so many of us, three-time Olympic luger Erin Hamlin has Rio on her mind. And she made that abundantly clear after a Team USA tweet marking 80 days until the Games. Come to think of it, clear our schedules, too.