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."
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.
Star-studded night in the City of Stars ✨— LA 2028 (@LA2028) November 30, 2017
The #TeamUSAAwards Red Carpet was filled with #LA2028 athletes as they arrived at #UCLA to celebrate the best of the best from 2017 pic.twitter.com/DK55q7r2qK
.@TeamUSA Women have arrived on the red carpet at the 2017 #TeamUSAAwards! pic.twitter.com/HI2XyJ2QYn— USA Water Polo (@USAWP) November 30, 2017
.@Snyder_man45 and @BillZadick on the red carpet for #TeamUSAAwards in Los Angeles. @USAWrestling is proud of these finalists for Olympic Athlete and Olympic Coach of Year Awards @TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/6GsmoElxYG— USA Wrestling (@USAWrestling) November 30, 2017
#teamusa awards tonight❣️🇺🇸❣️🇺🇸 Don’t worry you won’t miss a beat because it will be aired on December 23rd on @nbcolympics and you can see some of your favorite athletes on tv 😁 pic.twitter.com/osW6ImiX1j— Tatyana McFadden (@TatyanaMcFadden) November 30, 2017
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 ❣️🇺🇸❣️🇺🇸
And sportsmanship …
And gratitude …
I couldn’t agree more with @TeamUSA. thank you so SO much for nominating me amongst such amazing group of ladies of @USParalympics team. I could not be more thankful to represent my country on the world stage. 🙏🏼. Congrats @TatyanaMcFadden on your #TeamUSAAwards win👌🏼 https://t.co/VvJcvucf2Z— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) November 30, 2017
And more awards …
Humbled to receive the Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award that recognizes my contributions away from the field of play. I give my time & energy to causes I’m passionate about because, I know the power sport has to change the world and we desperately need change. Thank you @teamusa for this honor named after such a legendary man and thank you to @righttoplayintl @specialolympics @la2028games @asomughafndn for allowing me to create change through the incredibly important & impactful work you do! #teamusa
They say a picture is worth 1K words. This one is powerful & shows how important it is to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Our team is incredibly honored to receive this award but what’s even better is having the U8 @Ladyduckshockey accept it on our behalf. #rolemodels @teamusa @usahockey
Thankful I could receive this award with Coach Zadick. We have been working together for 5 years. Hours and hours of development. He taught me how to be elite. pic.twitter.com/W8uLKLCdO5— Kyle Snyder (@Snyder_man45) November 30, 2017
There was also one very special medal moment …
On the way to get that Olympic Medal!!! pic.twitter.com/ZGjRfF6sEk— chaunte (@chauntelowe) November 30, 2017
Highlight of the night! Incredible moment. Congrats @chauntelowe! https://t.co/rR1m94vEuV— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) November 30, 2017
Thanks @allysonfelix. Im so proud of ur accomplishments & the women you have become! Congrats on your award as well. https://t.co/qAIIkX4b1E— chaunte (@chauntelowe) December 1, 2017
’Tis The Season
Too soon? Not for these festive Team USA athletes …
‘‘Tis the season. 🎄 pic.twitter.com/ZzGvkOcJgx— Melissa Stockwell (@MStockwell01) November 27, 2017
Can we officially start watching #holiday movies?!?!?— Tatyana McFadden (@TatyanaMcFadden) November 24, 2017
Already on it https://t.co/hr3VUSpMS0— Summer Sanders (@SummerSanders_) November 25, 2017
@lemieux_craig The Griswalds are off to get a Christmas Tree #Memoriesaremade pic.twitter.com/uZsj1Ta7Ui— craig lemieux (@lemieux_craig) November 25, 2017
Christmas Tree Lighting in #LongBeach thanks @VisitLB pic.twitter.com/w2r20cyB8A— Tony Azevedo (@WaterPoloTony) November 29, 2017
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.
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.
I am so touched and overwhelmed by the amount of people who have reached out to me. My life has felt absolutely out of my control these past few weeks, nothing seemed to be going right and it felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. So I’m moving on, moving forward and getting back on track, but before I do, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been there for me❤️ It means more than you know.
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.
And now I can breathe. 🤘🏼😝#TeamUSA ✔️ https://t.co/eznqfEzBnw— Erin Hamlin (@erinhamlin) November 26, 2017
Olympians Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman are getting closer to PyeongChang, too …
@jterdimanUSA and I finished 5th in Winterberg today. It is important bc it means we are the 1st #USALuge sled to fulfill a qualification tier for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games!!!! While this doesn’t mean we are 100% in, it is the best start we could have! #TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/IsB8p1553W— Matt Mortensen (@MMortensenUSA) November 25, 2017
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.
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.
Here’s a slowed down look at the beauty of fitting 4 large guys into a tiny sled while running full speed on ice... Racing 4man again today and tomorrow on the North American Cup before flying out to Germany this weekend! 🇺🇸 @justinbolsen @stevenlangton @chris.fogt * * * @teamusa @usabs @ibsfsliding #bobsled #bobsleigh #BobTeamOlsen #ff #OTSS #4banger #speed #power #wintersport #parkcity #utaholympicpark #sliding2pc18
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 …
On The Other Hand
Lake Placid, at least for this moment, was not as kind to two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.
While we’re on the topic of figure skating, here’s a cross-training workout idea from Olympic speedskater Sugar Todd:
Hello? @USFigureSkating? This @USSpeedskating pair is ready to go on next. #SkateAmerica pic.twitter.com/FW2KJYR6OT— Sugar Todd (@sugarmotion) November 26, 2017
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.
If I was asked to pick just one Olympian who paved the way for me, it would be Dominique Dawes aka "Awesome Dawesome." #Elegance #perseverance pic.twitter.com/W9Skk8h8v0— Shani Davis (@ShaniDavis) November 26, 2017
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.
This sport has changed so many times in my eyes. There are some days when I love it more than anything in the world and other days when it causes me the most painful disappointment and heartbreak I’ve ever experienced. Through all of those days, I have been molded and shaped into someone who appreciates both her success and failure, and learns to grow and mature from both. Because of that, I am so beyond grateful for every day in this sport, wonderful and horrible, because it has given me more strength than I thought I could ever have. 📸: @gopro
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 Montaño family happily welcomes our fourth member to the relay team, our baby boy, Aster Cruz Montaño.— Alysia Montaño (@AlysiaMontano) November 25, 2017
Aster was born on Friday morning November 24, 2017 at 7:25am weighing in at 8lbs 6oz and measuring at 19.5inches long. His big sister @linneadori i… https://t.co/vCLTMp4gr2 pic.twitter.com/GAiHWgxUwC
I realized I’d forgotten my phone, but didn’t really need it so kept moving, until I realized my phone had my ID and my Insurance card in the wallet part of its case. So I walked back in the house, having two contractions in pursuit of my phone, one at t… https://t.co/k9hhpYs3ez pic.twitter.com/H3kdzuieYG— Alysia Montaño (@AlysiaMontano) November 25, 2017
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.
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 …
Then there was a podium …
And then there was a pretty good party (scaring teammate and fellow Olympian Jessie Diggins out of her wits) …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
Countdown To …
Guess what days it is..... hump daayyy AAND it’s officially 100 days until @Paralympics in @pyeongchang2018!!!!!! The count down is on and I@could not be more excited to be #100DaysToGo to compete amongst the best @ParaNordic @USParaNordic @TeamUSA @USParalympics❄️❄️❄️ pic.twitter.com/apFGKIDgw0— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) November 29, 2017
(This one has sound) I can’t believe we are already 100 days out from the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It seems like just yesterday we were anxiously gearing up for Sochi. Who’s ready to watch some boardercross? @thehartford #ThreeAmigos @evan_strong @grizzlygabel #TeamHartford @usparalympics #WillToPrevail @parasnowboard #ParaSnowboard #SBXLife
It is 100 days to @PyeongChang2018! We are so looking forward to the action on the slopes! So too is @nicoleroundy! #parasnowboard pic.twitter.com/7a7GFpiNvz— World Para Snowboard (@Parasnowboard) November 29, 2017
We are officially #100daysOut from the @pyeongchang2018 #Paralympics, & I cannot wait to be a part of the team that brings all of the action to you! Best of luck to the athletes in their final preparations for the Games! #DetailsToCome #paraicehockey— Taylor Lipsett (@usasledsniper7) November 29, 2017
But who’s counting 😁😁happy #100DaysToGo to @Paralympics @pyeongchang2018 and #1000DaystoGo to @Tokyo2020 let’s go #tea USA 🇺🇸❣️ pic.twitter.com/B8roJovvuk— Tatyana McFadden (@TatyanaMcFadden) November 29, 2017
Team USA is getting ready to go for the gold this March in South Korea! pic.twitter.com/IOtrWWqJom— USA Curling (@usacurl) November 29, 2017
Only #100DaysOut until @bren_hucks hopes to show off her moves in her #WinterParalympics debut🏂 pic.twitter.com/CB0B7umzCR— U.S. Paralympics (@USParalympics) November 29, 2017