What are Team USA athletes — Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls — 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 and having children. They're taking hard-earned vacations. Or retiring. Or 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."
It’s A Sibling Thing
Not only is this a great time of year on the sports calendar — courtesy the Final Four, the Frozen Four, Opening Day in baseball, The Masters, the NHL playoffs underway and the NBA playoffs on deck — but it’s also a nice little run for #InternetHolidays. This glorious week brought with it a tribute to siblings and pets, a few of Team USA’s favorite things.
Happy #nationalsiblingday to the big brothers I always tried keeping up with, but they never took it easy on me. The ones who have always looked out for me but didn't scare Sam off from joining the fam...🤗 Love you both, and I'm happy distance and circumstance didn't keep us from kicking off 2017 together 💙💙👨👨👧💖
Team USA also celebrated its love for man’s best friend (and one cat) on #NationalPetDay …
With another NBA regular season in the books, none other than perennial MVP candidate King James himself — the three-time Olympian widely considered among the best to have ever played, and a man who this season made history as the first NBA player to average at least 25 points, eight rebounds, eight assists per game and a 54 percent field goal record — offered high praise instead and a salute to MVP candidate Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook, the London Olympian, set a triple-double record this season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, which brought back to the spotlight the NBA feats of “The Big O,” Oscar Robertson, who astoundingly averaged 25.7-7.5-9.5 for his career and co-captained Team USA at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games.
Paralympic star Josh George, a four-time wheelchair medalist and the 2008 100-meter champion, is seeing triple these days, too. Beginning Monday, a three-marathon, three-city, three-week odyssey is underway with events in Boston, London and Seoul.
On Top Of The World
Organizers took to one of the world’s tallest buildings to make a historic announcement. Along with North American neighbors Canada and Mexico, the United States made its pitch to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Olympic soccer icon (and self-proclaimed “proud ginger”) Alexi Lalas had excellent seats.
On Top Of The World … Part II
Meanwhile, uptown, as part of celebrating the 2017 AAU James E. Sullivan Award finalists, the country’s top amateur athletes enjoyed the view. This year’s finalists, in addition to winner Lauren Carlini, a volleyball player at the University of Wisconsin, included Rio Olympians Kayla Harrison, Laurie Hernandez, Ashleigh Johnson, Kyle Snyder, Aly Raisman and Ginny Thrasher.
On top of The City! pic.twitter.com/HlbuS8n6MU— Kyle Snyder (@Snyder_man45) April 11, 2017
Something about New York makes my heart wanna do a lil dance🗽 pic.twitter.com/AuJmkjVvCl— Laurie Hernandez ➶ (@lzhernandez02) April 11, 2017
Olympic hockey medalist Hilary Knight scored one of the great goals in recent Team USA hockey history this past week, burying a slap shot from the faceoff dot after a drop pass from Kendall Coyne to win gold at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship over rival Canada. The goal itself is something, but a vantage point that included the ensuing celebration is priceless.
The win also set off a whirlwind tour of Manhattan with Knight, Coyne, team captain Meghan Duggan and Amanda Kessel. Yes, the Empire State Building was a busy place for Team USA this week.
Last week, six-time swimming medalist Amy Van Dyken teased her trip back to the mountains, and, this past week, her story of taking to the mountains after being paralyzed aired. Watch the video to find out what Van Dyken means when she says, ”This, to me, is freedom.”
A closer look at her ride …
Sled Medal Hunt
Welcome to Korea, Team USA. The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team is now underway in playing for a world title. This year, though, the team is doing so without the man who led them to gold in Sochi, Jeff Sauer, who died in February of pancreatic cancer. The loss of Sauer, a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer who won two NCAA titles and coached a handful of future Olympians as the head coach of Wisconsin for 20 seasons, gives Team USA that much more to play for. Consider Luke McDermott ready.
About to be wheels up to Korea for world championships ! #TeamUSA 🛫 🏒— Luke McDermott (@LukeJMcD2) April 9, 2017
Defenseman Nikko Landeros and goaltender Steve Cash offered some pre-tournament thoughts, too.
All Downhill From Here
What’s left of winter is treating alpine skier Ted Ligety well. In fact, this past week, the two-time Olympic alpine skiing champion who underwent back surgery 12 weeks ago, is back to the race course and running up some glorious speeds. (And, if you have a large monitor available, go ahead and watch this video at as large a size as you can. The speed Ligety generates through the turns is remarkable.)
Longtime friends and Olympic medalists Shannon Miller, Betty Okino and Kim Zmeskal took the trip of a lifetime, while a pair of winter athletes — Olympic cross-country skier Jessie Diggins, jumping for joy in Hawaii, and Olympic short track speed skater Jessica Kooreman — enjoyed some summer activity.
☀️ Taking all this happy energy and bringing it home to Minnesota with me! 💪🏼Join me tomorrow for an end of season party! Free and open to the public. Details: Wednesday, April 12 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Slumberland Campus, Discovery Building 1 Imation Drive, Oakdale, MN On Hwy 14 just East of 694 (formerly Imation headquarters)