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. 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."
A quick, scene-setting refresher on Bode Miller. Not only is he one of the most decorated alpine skiers in history, including Olympic medals in four different events, but he had so much more impact with a personality that brought attention to the sport in the United States and an aggressive, limit-pushing style. With that came some spectacular and unfortunate crashes. Now, there’s a new generation of Miller skiers … to go careening into a mesh fence.
Otherwise, it was smiles all around.
Simply The Best
In 2015, it was on a World Cup stage where soccer star Carli Lloyd put on a display for the ages en route to a captivating July 4 weekend finale that pretty well locked up her FIFA player of the year honors. For 2016, it was another set of dominating performances on the world stage, including 17 goals and 11 assists with the U.S. Women’s National Team. And, on a personal note, she was married to her high school sweetheart. Overall, a pretty incredible year. Earlier this week in Switzerland, she was honored, for the second time in as many years, as the 2016 FIFA Best Women’s Player of the Year.
Thanks to U.S. Soccer, we have her 2016 highlight reel:
True to form, Lloyd was well-prepared and dressed for success for her Swiss celebration.
We don't use this word often, but today it's appropriate.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) January 9, 2017
Slay, Carli 💃🏽. pic.twitter.com/GgsWCx8dAM
Resting on her laurels, though, is not one her New Year’s resolutions.
Incredible honor to win. This won't stop me. I want to be better in 2017 than I was in 2016. Thx to everyone for all the support. 😊 pic.twitter.com/BNrX4DIdR1— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) January 10, 2017
Not one, but two of Team USA’s top figure skaters, reigning U.S. champion Adam Rippon and Olympian Polina Edmunds, announced this week that they would not be able to compete at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships that begin next week in Kansas City, Missouri. It wasn’t long after their posts, however, that a Team USA support group formed around them.
@Adaripp 👯🔙🔛🔝🔜😼— Polina Edmunds (@PolinaEdmunds) January 10, 2017
Support Group, Too
Even a simple tweet can bring out the empathy in Team USA, proven by this exchange between a pair of Rio Olympians, beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings and one of the fastest women in the world, English Gardner.
My spirit is so freaking sensitive now a days ....— English Gardner (@UgHLyDuCkLiN) January 12, 2017
I've recently been told that there is great strength in sensitivity. I believe it 💯 % Love to you, E.G. ❤️ https://t.co/rX6IxpP9dU— Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) January 12, 2017
If it’s golden, Team USA should be there, right? Such was the case at the Golden Globes …
Bling, Bling, Bling
What do six gold and three silver Olympic track and field medals look like? Allyson Felix, who won three medals in Rio and this past week was named Sportswoman of the Year by the Los Angeles Sports Council, is the only woman in history who can pull together this display.
Got a chance to get together my entire team, family and friends to thank them for their unwavering support. Nothing is accomplished alone! pic.twitter.com/1QkeWcRlWy— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) January 10, 2017
Four-time Olympic diving medalist David Boudia didn’t pass on the opportunity to put Felix’s accomplishments into perspective.
@allysonfelix G.O.A.T.— David Boudia (@davidboudia) January 10, 2017
Red Sky At Night …
… It was, according to the adage, sailor’s delight for a pair of Olympic swimming champions who have combined to win nearly 30 gold medals. Earlier this week, both from Arizona, the sky was the limit.
Ledecky Leaves Teammates In Awe
If she isn’t already there, Katie Ledecky is an Olympic legend in the making. Before the age of 20, she has shattered world records and won five freestyle gold medals at distances ranging from the 200-meter to the 800-meter. Sometimes, though, it takes a fellow elite athlete’s awe to get a sense of just how special a legend-in-the-making is.
Worse Than We Knew
While skiing fans were celebrating the stages of Lindsey Vonn’s rehab toward a return, the Olympic alpine star was going through much more than we knew. In an Instagram post that resulted in 206,000 likes and more than 950 comments, Vonn let us know just how serious her training injury was — "300 hours of therapy, severe nerve damage, no function of my entire hand." And, now, while she’s not yet fully comfortable putting on her glove or doing her hair, she’s still going to get back to skiing against the best in the world.
I am beyond thrilled that I am announcing my return to racing this weekend! It's been a grueling 8 weeks since my arm surgery with over 300 hours of therapy but all of my hard work is finally paying off! This video I made is very personal. I was very open with all of you regarding the bone fracture in my humerus but what I haven’t mentioned to you is the fact that I also had severe nerve damage. I have thought about whether I should share this information for a long time. In the end, I have opted to tell you because I feel my journey might also give hope to those with similar injuries. As you can see in the video, I woke up from surgery and had no function of my entire hand. I worked closely with my friend and physical therapist @lindsaywinninger and Patrick Rottenhofer every day to slowly regain my motor function. Today I am still struggling to do simple things like put on my ski glove and do my hair, but I'm at a point where I am comfortable with my hand in most situations. This has been the hardest recovery of my career to date but thankfully it has taken less time to heal than my knee injuries. After my 8 week checkup with Dr. Hackett, my bone showed significant healing and I was given the green light to start training and if I was comfortable, start racing. This is just a small piece of my journey back from rehab to racing. During the entire process I documented my progress and was also shadowed by a film crew from @eurosport . Together we captured every high and every low for my new docu-series 'Chasing History'. It will air in February, so you will be able to see my recovery as well as watch me continue to chase history in the future. Thank you for always supporting me no matter what obstacle I face. I have the greatest fans in the world and I am very thankful. And remember, nothing is impossible. If you fall, get back up! #nevergiveup Xo Lv
What hasn’t Swin Cash won? Two NCAA titles as a basketball star at UConn. Three WNBA titles. Two Olympic gold medals. And now she has a new job — not surprisingly it is in the game of basketball. Congratulations!
Congratulations to Kayla Banwarth, too. After wearing the red, white and blue in Rio, where she earned a bronze medal, Nebraska alum Kayla Banwarth is now back to work for the big red of her alma mater in Lincoln.
Thanks for the all the kind messages! I'll be waking up every day with a heart full of gratitude ❤ GO BIG RED!— Kayla Banwarth (@KaylaBanwarth2) January 10, 2017
U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team star and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan has chosen to play overseas, and her excellent adventure is underway in France.
Lyon, see you soon! 🛫— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 5, 2017
Good morning from Lyon! First on the agenda-- getting my physical completed.— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 6, 2017
Physical ✔ Official contract signed ✔ Training/Game gear ✔ Apartment hunting ___— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 6, 2017
Finally found my apartment(flat)! Officially living like the French do 🇫🇷🚗🏢— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 9, 2017
Getting better, one 108-lap afternoon at a time. Modern pentathlete Samantha Achterberg is back to training.
True Patriot Love
On the left, we have Patrick Kane, a Buffalo native who played junior ice hockey in Canada and was the NHL’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 2007. On the right, we have Jonathan Toews, a Winnipeg native who played high school and college hockey in the United States and was the No. 3 overall pick in 2006. Now, they are teammates on the Chicago Blackhawks, for whom Toews is the captain and Kane is the reigning NHL MVP. They are two of the very best players in the world, and they’re even linked by a decade-old IIHF World Junior Championship semifinal that Toews won by converting three shoot-out goals over Kane’s Team USA. A measure of revenge came this week, though. At this year’s edition of the World Junior Championship, the United States topped Canada in a shootout to win gold in one of the best international hockey games of the decade — thereby forcing Toews into the indignity of rocking the red, white and blue.
Team USA’s bobsledders work out hard, y’all. Even when that means setting up and tearing down their own weights. At a parking garage in Germany.
Speaking of sliders, Olympic bobsled gold medalist Steven Holcomb worked out hard enough to benefit from sitting with some pins and needles.
I'm a porcupine. pic.twitter.com/2gV0RlA5ft— Steven Holcomb (@StevenHolcomb) January 10, 2017
When it comes to Alana Nichols, one never can be certain about the nature of her inspiring posts — from skiing steep powder in the mountains, to surfing on the seas, to her Paralympic adventures, to … going full dirndl in Austria. To see her workout, though, offers yet another inspiring window into her world.
Occasionally, the picture is enough …
constantly torn between “if it’s meant to be, it will be” and “if you want it, go and get it— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 12, 2017