By Jamie MacDonald | Dec. 01, 2017, 9:54 a.m. (ET)

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."

 

U-S-A, U-S-A

Though you'll have to wait until it airs on Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. on NBC, we can give you a sneak peek into one of the great days on the Team USA calendar with its annual award ceremony to recognize the excellence of the previous season. And, yes, it comes with a red carpet arrival.

 

 

 

And, of course, awards …

 

Didn’t expect this win tonight for Best Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year!!!!! I am so honored and humbled. Congratulations to all nominees and winners tonight. #teamusa is definitely a force to be reckoned with especially the nominees for best female Paralympic athlete of the year. Thank you to my coach, teammates, family, friends, my fans, and USOC. This year has been a tough year and I didn’t know what it would it would bring after I was diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder in February. I had to loose a few dreams in the beginning half of the year but I made it world championships winning four golds and then turned around to train for Chicago marathon and New York marathon. I couldn’t believe when I won @chimarathon and second @nycmarathon. My message tonight is don’t give up on your dreams. We all will have set backs in our life. Sometimes the set backs will teach us something. Learn from it and be with positive people who will support you along the way! Thank you again โฃ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธโฃ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

A post shared by TatyanaMcFadden (@tatyanamcfaddenusa) on

And sportsmanship …

And gratitude …

And more awards …

 

 

There was also one very special medal moment …

 

 


’Tis The Season

Too soon? Not for these festive Team USA athletes …

 

 

LOVE ๐Ÿ’œ LOVE ๐Ÿ’œ LOVE ๐Ÿ’œ the holiday season! ๐ŸŽ„

A post shared by Mrs. Jessica Kooreman (@thejessicakooreman) on

 

 

๐ŸŽ„โšช๏ธ๐Ÿ”บLittle white tree ๐ŸŽ„โšช๏ธ๐Ÿ”บ

A post shared by TatyanaMcFadden (@tatyanamcfaddenusa) on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to decorate a tree paraplegic style? Don’t take no for an answer! #Christmas #Tree #Gripper

A post shared by Amy Van Dyken (@amyvandyken) on

 


Tree’s Company

One of Team USA’s brightest personalities, Rio gymnastics champion Laurie Hernandez, had to compete with about 50,000 lights at Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan for the lighting of this year’s 75-foot tall Norway spruce.

 

here’s to a beautiful tree lighting in NY๐ŸŽ„

A post shared by Laurie Hernandez (@lauriehernandez_) on


Olympics On Her Mind

When it comes to following Team USA athletes posts on social media, some of the most powerful among those posts come from athletes reacting off the field, track, court or rink to something intensely personal on the field, track, court or rink. In this case, Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner had to make a late call that, while devastating in the short term, she hoped would help her in the long term. Given a day to digest the decision from this past weekend’s Skate America event in Lake Placid, New York, Wagner made it clear that PyeongChang remains first and foremost in her mind.


Final Four

The work. The hours. The practice. The cold, early mornings. The travel. The injuries. The treatment. The competition. The winning and losing. Living the life of an Olympic hopeful can be awfully difficult on the mind and body of an athlete, which is why this looks and feels so good for three-time Olympic luger Erin Hamlin.

 

Olympians Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman are getting closer to PyeongChang, too …


Speed Demon

It was just over a year ago that Olympic alpine skiing champion Ted Ligety announced that he’d be undergoing season-ending surgery after “dealing with severe nerve pain down my left leg,” and he’s clearly picking up speed on the hill. Watching elite skiers generate speed through the carving of their turns makes for a thrill ride even in practice.


All Aboard

Nearly 900 pounds of big human has to find its way with great pace into a sled barely wide enough for the shoulders of such Team USA athletes as former Ivy League decathlon champion and Olympic hopeful Evan Weinstock, plus two-time Olympians Justin Olsen, Chris Fogt and Steve Langton. In slow motion, it’s a thing of graceful beauty.


Shib Flashback

Lake Placid was very good to the Shibutani siblings, ice dance duo Maia and Alex, this past weekend, when they won gold. Turns out, Lake Placid and its historic Miracle on Ice rink, will always be special to the Shib Sibs …

A more current pic …

 

So proud to bring home a gold medal for @teamusa! @alexshibutani and I really appreciate all of the support! #SkateAmerica

A post shared by Maia Shibutani (@maiashibutani) on


On The Other Hand

Lake Placid, at least for this moment, was not as kind to two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.

 

I wore an aggressive platform tonight & fell during rehearsal. Enjoy! | @taralipinski @terrygannon83 @nbcolympics

A post shared by •JOHNNY WEIR• (@johnnygweir) on


Competition …

While we’re on the topic of figure skating, here’s a cross-training workout idea from Olympic speedskater Sugar Todd:


Admiration Society

And while we’re on the topic of speedskating, four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis recently credited a gymnast for helping blaze a trail for him.


Ups … And Downs

When it comes to the full spectrum of emotions on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights, Olympic swimming champion Missy Franklin has seemingly lived through it all. This past week, a revealing Instagram post touched on just how difficult — and thrilling — things have been for the toast of the London Games.


Birthday Story

Considering the impact they have made on her Olympic trials (her Twitter bio begins with: “That Pregnant runner“), Alysia Montaño’s children are more intertwined than most when it comes to Team USA. And congratulations are in order for Baby No. 2 for the Montaño family.

 


The Happiest Human?

At least for a day, it’s snowboarding phenom Chloe Kim, who will be a favorite to steal the show in PyeongChang — not unlike she stole the show at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Kim, won gold in both the halfpipe and slopestyle events there, kicked off the week right at Mammoth Mountain, California.

 

Happiest human right now

A post shared by Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) on


Pop!

Sochi Olympic cross-country skier Sadie Bjornsen had herself a pretty good week in Finland to kick off this competition season. First, there was a birthday …

 

Best birthday party ever doing the thing I love, with a team I love! #sunriseparty #youngforever

A post shared by Sadie Bjornsen (@sbjornsen) on

Then there was a podium …

 

Let the World Cup season begin! Thanks to everyone who made this dream day possible! #keepclassicalive

A post shared by Sadie Bjornsen (@sbjornsen) on

And then there was a pretty good party (scaring teammate and fellow Olympian Jessie Diggins out of her wits) …


Gray Beard

As a veteran of so much competition and the star of countless highly produced videos, Olympic snowboarding star Shaun White can always remind us that it’s just as compelling to watch him out for a powder cruise — even in flat light when he “couldn’t see anything” at the halfpipe in Salzburg, Austria. A good deal of that powder wound up on his face after a deep, seemingly harmless tumble. But, first, a photo op …

 

Been getting in some great days on the mountain. Riding shots coming soon!! ๐Ÿ“ท @jjthomas_

A post shared by Shaun White (@shaunwhite) on

 

 

Starting the season off right! Link in my bio for the full edit๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ...

A post shared by Shaun White (@shaunwhite) on

The full video, which runs almost three minutes, includes the bonus footage of White being towed behind a snowmobile …

And, just like that, it’s goodbye, Austria …

 

Thanks Austria! Until next timeโœŒ๐Ÿป

A post shared by Shaun White (@shaunwhite) on


Stair Master

Here’s Olympic diving champion and Purdue student-athlete Steele Johnson following doctor’s orders, hop, hop, hopping his way up to the 10-meter platform. And it’s not every day that a post earns more views than someone has followers, but this video from Johnson, who has just over 60,000 Instagram followers, cracked 100,000 views.

And, with another 25,000 views, this is what it looked like from a lower elevation …

 

Still going ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

A post shared by Steele Johnson (@steele_johnson) on


On Edge

You know who else likes heights? Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy. In October, it was in Paris and in Zurich. This past week, it was in Telluride …

 

Wearing a leather jacket to seem a little ledgier.

A post shared by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on


Countdown To …

T-minus …

 

 

 

 

 

Only #100DaysOut until @bren_hucks hopes to show off her moves in her #WinterParalympics debut๐Ÿ‚

A post shared by U.S. Paralympics (@usparalympics) on

 

 

 

Thomas Walsh is ROCKIN’ out on the @todayshow to celebrate #100DaysOut from the #Paralympics! ๐Ÿ’ฅ

A post shared by U.S. Paralympics (@usparalympics) on

 

 

The #100DaysOut joy is hitting Staci Mannella and guide @sadiedebaun. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐ŸŽŠ #WinterParalympics

A post shared by U.S. Paralympics (@usparalympics) on