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."
Dog Gone Good Skiing
Olympic alpine skiing legend Lindsey Vonn makes no secret of the importance of the canine friends in her life. Yes, they have their own @vonndogs Twitter account and, yes, they are a supportive bunch. Lucy even makes for a pretty good speed training partner.
Not all that far removed from breaking her arm, Vonn is, in fact, back on the hill and competing ... like a beast, in the eyes of fellow Olympic alpine skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin.
Lindsey Vonn is a flipping BEAST. Welcome back. @lindseyvonn— Mikaela Shiffrin (@MikaelaShiffrin) January 21, 2017
Yeah girl. Rocked it!!! https://t.co/BGp8T053qe— Laurenne Ross (@lalalalaurenne) January 21, 2017
No Shoes, No Problem
There is, apparently, a rule on the 16th tee that the athlete who has won more Olympic medals than anyone in history, well, he can go barefoot.
While on vacation with his mom and dad, young Boomer reached a milestone on the road …
The future of men’s figure skating is now the present after Nathan Chen’s record-breaking performance this past weekend at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Chen, who at the age of 17 ripped off quad after quad during his long program, ran away with the title and straight into the conversation about what may be in store for him a little over a year from now in the Olympic Winter Games. Team USA reactions to his performance were almost as priceless as the performance itself.
I have never been so moved by technical or athletic excellence like I was today by @nathanwchen. It was spellbinding and so appreciated.— Johnny Weir (@JohnnyGWeir) January 22, 2017
I'm just laughing at how ridiculous this skate is holy crap— Angela Wang (@AngelaWangster) January 22, 2017
What are the legal steps I need to take to change my last name to Chen?— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) January 22, 2017
Also, in Kansas City, the “Shib Sibs,” Olympians Maia and Alex Shibutani won the ice dance title, something that caught the eye of another Team USA sibling duo, Olympic hockey’s Lamoureux twins.
The drive for six? Kerri Walsh Jennings has played beach volleyball in five consecutive Olympic Games, taking home three straight golds through London and backing it up with a bronze in Rio. Tokyo, though, is now in play. Her updated Twitter bio: “Proud wife, proud mother, Believer, dreamer, seeker, 3x Olympic Gold medalist. 1x Olympic Bronze. Aspiring to be MY best #Tokyo2020 #IAmLove #4 …” So she’s saying there’s a chance.
Love this vid 😊🙏❤ as long as the fire is lit, my heart is full & crew is ALL IN, so am I 🇺🇸🎯👊 The Journey is where it's at ✨ I ❤ it all! https://t.co/PEQAdgg9uR— Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) January 22, 2017
At the time, she’ll be 41, and she’ll have to get used to reading about that storyline …
Oh my! I just need to get used to the focus on my age .... drives me crazy for some reason 😬 I've ❤'d my age at every age. I focus on that! https://t.co/cLVUukQhKY— Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) January 19, 2017
Heading into the night race at Schladming this past week, Team USA slalom skier Robby Kelley called it, “the most fun race of the year!!!!” Unfortunately, Kelley wound up airborne and sideways a few gates from the finish line at the raucous event. Kelley, however, also wound up stealing the show when, after his slide down the hill, he hiked back up in order to complete the slalom — much to the delight of 50,000 fans …
Kelley’s reaction on Instagram was as sportsmanlike as the finish to his race …
Ah, life on the road …
View From The Top … And Bottom
Of all the curves in all the world, three-time Olympic bobsled medalist Steven Holcomb, a man who has logged countless corners along countless miles on tracks all over the world during a career that dates back to 1998, loves this one most. High praise.
My favorite curve in all the world. Sunny, in St. Moritz. (I forgot to post this, I was having to much fun sliding.) pic.twitter.com/PM9zeDYRGk— Steven Holcomb (@StevenHolcomb) January 24, 2017
This past week in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Holcomb jumped from seventh after his first run with Carlo Valdes up to third to finish on the podium while also rising in the world cup standings to third, but now he’s on to Germany …
Just thought it was a beautiful view from the top of the track in Königsee. pic.twitter.com/BegwMuY3lb— Steven Holcomb (@StevenHolcomb) January 24, 2017
Thought this was a nice view from the BOTTOM of the track in Königsee. pic.twitter.com/c8UTrpsa5n— Steven Holcomb (@StevenHolcomb) January 24, 2017
With a bit of downtime before taking off for the world championships, Olympic luger Tucker West, stopped for moment to enjoy a photo opp — with a swan, no less — in one of the most photogenic cities in the world.
About a month ago, Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall posted an invite for would-be first-time marathoners to check out his 18-week plan. Hall is in the midst of proving he knows plenty about training for 26.2 miles, as he’s running a remarkable seven marathons … on seven continents … in seven consecutive days. Thankfully, he covered his own journey, because the chronicles are captivating. There is excitement, positive energy, exhaustion and, yes, pain — particularly in his running, 23rd-mile check-ins.
Marathon 1 | Antarctica | “Went out too hard, as usual”
Marathon 2 | Chile | “It has not been long enough since marathon No. 1. Feeling a little bit torn up” …
Marathon 3 | Florida | “Goal now is survival” …
Marathon 4 | Madrid | “Hurtin’” … “Suffering like I’ve never suffered before” … “I can barely walk” … “This is going to get ugly” …
The adventure continues …
Looking Back, And Forward
Some anniversaries are for poignant reflection. For Paralympic swimming star and gold medalist Mallory Weggemann, that date is Jan. 21.
On January 21, 2008 my life forever changed, I still remember the moments leading into my paralysis and the moments following will forever be ingrained in my memory. Today marks nine years since that day and today we celebrate, we celebrate all the beauty that surrounds us rather than grieve the darkness, today we choose to remain hopeful for our future and today we celebrate the journey life has taken us on. As we celebrate nine years I think back to all that has been accomplished since that day...I have lived on each coast of this country, I have represented #TeamUSA on multiple occasions and had the honor to sit atop the podium wearing our uniform with pride over 30 times, I have dreamed, I have lived and I have loved more than I ever knew possible. As I sit here and celebrate with my loved ones I remain thankful for all those who have loved me, supported me and pushed me throughout this journey. But today, I am especially grateful to one person in particular, my husband. He has taught me what it means to be loved and to love in return, he has helped me experience countless firsts since my paralysis, he has encouraged me, challenged me and supported my every dream. He has brought that bounce back in my "step" and constantly restores my faith in what true love means. So today as we remember, we also celebrate and we look forward. Thank you my love for fulfilling my biggest dream, for giving me the one thing I never knew if I would have and for dancing through life with me! #CheersToWheels #SCI #RedefineLimitations #NineYears
Congratulations are in order for Andy Roddick. This past week, the Olympic tennis star who reached the world No. 1 ranking and had the unfortunate luck to come along at the time of Roger Federer, learned he earned his induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.
@andyroddick into the Tennis Hall of Fame-- that's my boy- u deserve it & I am proud of you!!!— Jimmy Connors (@JimmyConnors) January 24, 2017
So proud of this guy. https://t.co/IdzXLcsPtL— Brooklyn Decker (@BrooklynDecker) January 24, 2017
U.S. rugby Olympian and all-around speedster Carlin Isles also earned a spot on a wall of honor, this one at his high school in Ohio. A dream came true for Isles this past week, and he broke a little ground in the process …
LA 2024’s Unanimous Decision
There are many more that remain, of course, but Los Angeles took another step toward hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, thanks to crossing an important milestone.
And that vote went better than OK …
As was the case heading into Rio, and will likely be the case heading into Tokyo, there’s a pretty good bet Katie Ledecky sets up as a major would-be storyline entering a Los Angeles Games, too, and it’s something about which she can easily get excited.
With the X Games underway in Aspen, a Team USA quintet gathered for their own photo opp that included 2014 Olympians Annalisa Drew, Brita Sigourney, Devin Logan and Maddie Bowman.
But they weren’t alone among Olympians in Aspen …
Taking The Plunge
Even the greediest of snowboarders and skiers wouldn’t ask for this sort of snow with a straight face. This is simply a matter of being spoiled …
We are in over our heads... literally! pic.twitter.com/vikMQcfm9p— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) January 22, 2017
When it comes to young patriots, there are few greater concentrations than at our nation’s military academies. When two of them meet in athletics, particularly Army-Navy, the games are special. This past week, NBA analyst and 1996 Olympian Reggie Miller visited an Army-Navy hoops game and came away honored.
@ReggieMillerTNT 👏Thank you for spending time at West Point and with our Cadets! Meant a lot to everyone! Go Army! Beat Everyone! 🏀— Commandant of Cadets (@Commandant_USMA) January 22, 2017
.@Commandant_USMA No thanks needed, it was a privilege and honor to get to know a few of them.. Thanks for the access to them..— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) January 22, 2017
Miller had himself a pretty good week, too. Though not where he makes his home in breathtaking Malibu, life on the road treated him to the honor of meeting “the queen of trash talk,” two-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Lilly King. King, the Indiana native, couldn’t have been happier to meet the legendary Pacers trash-talker in what quickly became a mutual admiration society.
Best. Day. Ever. https://t.co/IK85hneeLv— Lilly King (@_king_lil) January 24, 2017
Though this feels a bit like a verrrry early blinker a mile before an exit off the highway, don’t let it be said that Shawn Johnson is unprepared for Falcons-Patriots. Let’s just hope her food choices keep over the next week or so.
Getting ready to throw our annual Superbowl Bash! Is it bad that this is just the practice round 🙈🙊😂 Haha thank you… pic.twitter.com/v1HHZqqrTo— Shawn Johnson East (@ShawnJohnson) January 22, 2017