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."
At long, lamenting last, the Games of Rio, both Olympic and Paralympic, have come to a conclusion. We’ll keep you posted on the comings and goings of athletes with their eyes now firmly on PyeongChang for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018 and beyond, including Tokyo for the next summer edition of the Games in 2020. Still, it’s not quite time to move past Rio just yet. With that, we take a look back at the final few days of the Paralympic Games, beginning with breakout swimming star and three-time Rio gold medalist Becca Meyers …
Thank you Rio for hosting a great @Paralympics Games! Tokyo, here I come! #incredible #teamusa pic.twitter.com/4asj7mXQRd— Becca Meyers (@becca_meyers) September 18, 2016
Meyers, by they way, has made it home safely … to her dog, who was more than a little excited:
Also reunited with his dog: Brad Snyder, who broke a 30-year-old world record on his way to Paralympic gold in the 100-meter freestyle (he also won gold in the 400-meter freestyle and silver in the 100-meter backstroke) …
Looking back, breaststroke silver medalist Sophia Herzog offered heartfelt gratitude …
It's impossible to watch @SophiaHerzog's post-race interview without smiling. #Paralympics https://t.co/4GfOkFSwzh— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) September 16, 2016
As my first Paralympic Games comes to a close I would just like to say it's been an amazing experience where I did something unimaginable in my head two years ago. To stand on top of the podium with two other elite athletes is something that is probably still sinking in that I came here and was able to bring home a medal for my country in my absolute favorite event! Thank you again for all your love a support! GO USA! 🇧🇷🇺🇸
Eighteen-year-old Colleen Young, never shy with a social media quip, offered a heartfelt caption with her bling …
Alana Nichols became a Paralympian in her third sport, kayak, and made the most of her trip to Rio (more on that later, too) …
One of the best ever, four-time Paralympian and 23-time medalist Jessica Long with a few of her friends …
Para-sorority is out! Thank you Rio for having us(a) 🇧🇷🏅🇺🇸 #rio2016 pic.twitter.com/II340KL8lb— Jessica Long (@JessicaLong) September 19, 2016
Side note: Among the more compelling images captured during the Games, this moving poolside shot featured Long and teammate Mallory Weggemann:
Powerful image from last night of @malloryweggeman and @JessicaLong!!!! pic.twitter.com/zrlFVFJYDo— The Factory Agency (@FactoryAgency11) September 18, 2016
Sitting volleyball gold medalist Alexis Shifflet …
Closing ceremonies!!! The games are coming to an end! #Rio2016 pic.twitter.com/NYMR6691nO— Alexis Shifflett (@AlexisShifflet1) September 18, 2016
Wheelchair basketball gold medalist Abby Dunkin …
Closing Ceremonies!🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/x6Qwg7jTFK— Abby Dunkin (@ADunkin23) September 18, 2016
Of course, there was the Closing Ceremony, led by Army veteran and 7-a-side soccer defender Josh Brunais, who not only managed to keep popsicle off his shorts but also arrived in style …
We are proud to have Josh REPRESENT TeamUSA at tonight's Closing Ceremony. #USA #USflag@ussoccer & @USParalympics pic.twitter.com/ZBx1wuL28H— US Paralympic Soccer (@ussoccer_PNT) September 18, 2016
Brunais’ entry into the stadium looked a little like this …
Josh Brunais carries the 🇺🇸 in the #Rio2016 #ClosingCeremony! pic.twitter.com/blEcV39oQW— U.S. Paralympics (@USParalympics) September 18, 2016
The flag bearer, predictably, became a pretty popular guy, first with his teammates …
We came with the plan to REPRESENT the flag and that's just what we did!#TeamUSA #USflag #USAflag#USA #USA #USA pic.twitter.com/eAQ58lBzJ9— US Paralympic Soccer (@ussoccer_PNT) September 19, 2016
Then with the men’s sitting volleyball team …
Gotta get that selfie with the flag bearer! 📷🇺🇸 #Paralympics #ClosingCeremony #Rio2016 pic.twitter.com/DeJNriKPWz— USA Volleyball (@usavolleyball) September 18, 2016
And … that’s … all … folks …
What an incredible 12 days! #TeamUSA is proud to be bringing home 115 medals from the #Rio2016 Paralympic Games! pic.twitter.com/0R9Cq0gGNP— U.S. Paralympics (@USParalympics) September 18, 2016
Nichols had herself an emotional Games, but the adventurous Paralympic star also managed an epic side trip.
Only a few weeks of the Major League Baseball season remain, and its teams are making the most of what’s left with arms borrowed from Rio’s returning athletes.
San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto may have a wide assortment of pitching deliveries, some of which are unconventional, but he can apparently impart wisdom as a pitching coach. Here, the beneficiary is Rio gold medalist gymnast Aly Raisman:
Two-time gold medalist water polo player Courtney Mathewson even used the otherwise thrilling occasion of throwing out a first pitch to chirp her coach:
.@WaterPoloCoachK Let me know if you need any pointers for your next pitch! #bounce #dirt #cute 😂 @USAWP pic.twitter.com/636K67BOsk— Courtney Mathewson (@CLKMathewson) September 16, 2016
Adam Krikorian did not take things lying down …
.@CLKMathewson @USAWP Yes please! I've always wanted to learn how to throw an Eephus pitch #lob #rain? #grandma 😉 pic.twitter.com/WKa9MtsKJ8— Adam Krikorian (@WaterPoloCoachK) September 16, 2016
Wrestler Kyle Snyder’s amazing year continues: 2015 world champion, 2016 NCAA champion, 2016 Olympic champion … and throwing out a first pitch in his native Maryland …
#TeamUSA Olympic gold medalist & Maryland native @Snyder_man45 threw out tonight's ceremonial first pitch. #Birdland pic.twitter.com/hsRYDgzvQe— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) September 18, 2016
Separated by 14 years as No. 1 overall picks out of UConn by the Seattle Storm, 22-year-old Breanna Stewart and 35-year-old Sue Bird, both of whom won gold in Rio (Bird’s fourth), joined forces in Seattle …
Two gold medalists in the building tonight. @s10bird and @bre_stewart30 delivered our first pitch. pic.twitter.com/tpS3GMPJVu— Mariners (@Mariners) September 18, 2016
Kevin Cordes earned gold in the men's 4x100-meter medley, but, as a noted Cubs fan, this had to rank among his most special moments of the past few months …
Olympic swimmer @KwCordes tosses a first pitch worthy of gold. #LetsGo 🏅 pic.twitter.com/iusf9tG7r2— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 21, 2016
Team USA made some impact on the gridiron, too, as experienced through the remarkable Lopez family …
Looking forward 2 going to the Texans game tomorrow w my bros @StevenLopezTkd @LopezTKDAcademy @marklopeztkd #HispanicHeritageMonth #look4us— Diana Lopez (@dianalopez25) September 18, 2016
The G.O.A.T & the Lopez fam being honored at today's @HoustonTexans game🏈🙌🏼 @StevenLopezTkd @LopezTKDAcademy #Htown pic.twitter.com/t6I9WsfPcg— Alyxandra Lopez (@alyxxlopezz) September 19, 2016
But we’ll see if five-time Olympian Steven Lopez is treated so kindly by the Houston Texans after taking out their mascot:
.@StevenLopezTkd helped kick off #TexansGameday the best way he knows how - Thanks @TexansTORO1 for the assist! 😬 pic.twitter.com/mMsYepFgQG— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 18, 2016
Red Carpet Treatment
The Shot Diva, Rio’s Olympic shot put champion Michelle Carter, lives up to her name here, making her elegant way to the 68th Emmys.
I would like to accept the award for all of you for all the support over the years... The wins and losses! Through the tears and laughter. You have been sunshine on a rainy day!! Thank you and LOVE you all!!! (music plays exit stage left) 😍😍😍😍 #EloquiiattheEmmys #ShotDiva #Fashion #PostOlympics #Eloquii #XOQ
Alpine skiing legend and gold medalist Lindsey Vonn also pulls off the athlete-turned-entertainment-star look …
Heading to the @TheEmmys! Thx for inviting us @FerrariTrento #toastFerrari pic.twitter.com/gC2bmtfz54— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) September 18, 2016
.@lindseyvonn's showcases those Olympic champ back muscles in sexy #Emmys dress https://t.co/FrV3NRGOUj pic.twitter.com/yP1XyLCPHe— PeopleStyle (@People_Style) September 19, 2016
A mere week ago, Vonn was nearing terminal velocity on the side of a mountain in Chile.
Next up for Vonn? Besides more skiing? You may be seeing her on bookstore shelves. Her sister’s rave review:
If you’re going to nerd out, this is the way you do it. Cody Miller proposed to Ali Dewitt nearly a year ago, and it’s now time to take some pre-wedding pictures. They are Harry Potter fans. Of the highest order. Miller notes in his Twitter bio that he is a … “Movie Buff • Olympic Gold Medalist • Motivational Speaker • 4x American Record Holder • Puppy Enthusiast • Nerd • 3x World Championship Medalist • Hogwarts MD” However, after this photo op, he may have the proper cred to put some emphasis on Hogwarts.
We're getting ready for our #HARRYPOTTER #EngagementPhotos 👏🏼!! Can't wait to see our sweet pics👻😝!! #NerdLife pic.twitter.com/CEDbfnLwQw— Cody Miller (@swimiller) September 19, 2016
We Love LA
Football is back in Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, all sorts of entertainment dreams, enviable weather, spectacular views and one of the more impressive casts to stump for the Olympics, including Michael Johnson, Greg Louganis, Dawn Harper-Nelson, Cobi Jones, Haley Anderson, Samantha Peszek, Kyla Ross, Jessica Hardy and Raj Bhavsar.
Olympic legends joined 91,000+ fans @lacoliseum to welcome back the @RamsNFL & cheer them on to victory! pic.twitter.com/eZ1k2k37ye— LA 2024 (@LA2024) September 19, 2016
This time of year, a handful of Team USA’s alpine skiers and snowboarders are wintering in South America, including two-time Olympic alpine skiing champion Ted Ligety, who managed to catch himself under an almost impossibly blue sky …
… that would make for a nice matched set of bookends with another shot taken a week earlier:
What About Bobsled?
Speaking of winter athletes … What good are biceps if you’re not rocking them for FlexCam at a Canadian Football League game? Congrats, Olympic bobsled bronze medalists Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans.
The #FlexCam found us tonight @ the @calstampeders game. I won a $100 gift certificate & a hat. #thanksCanada 😜💪🏼👩🏼💸 pic.twitter.com/nbCnpXJN62— Jamie Greubel Poser (@JamieGreubel) September 18, 2016
Making A Splash
On the East Coast two weeks ago, two-time Rio swimming medalist Conor Dwyer is back on the left coast, making the most of things. Over the weekend, he hooked up with actor Zac Efron and his brother for a charity triathlon in Malibu.
Earlier in the week, he made that splash literal.