By Jamie MacDonald | July 14, 2017, 2:36 p.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."

 

The Comeback

For a dose of inspiration, catch up on the tale of Olympic hurdler Aries Merritt …

The seven-time All-American went on to earn gold at the London Games in the 110-meter hurdles, going under 13 seconds in the process, but by 2013 found himself fighting a kidney disease so serious that he underwent the kidney transplant on Sept. 1, 2015, only four days after he'd earned a bronze medal at the world championships that year in Beijing. Perhaps as inspiring as so many of Team USA’s inspiring stories are on their own is the way the team supports the athletes at the center of them. And, oh-by-the-way, he's off to a stellar 2017 season.

 


New Kids …

Born on June 6, #littleNell is well into her first month as the daughter of three-time Olympic alpine skier Steven Nyman, which later earned him a “Thanks daddy!!! 😘😴” and a #bestdadever hashtag from mom Charlotte Moats. (Olympic champion alpine skier and fellow new dad Ted Ligety — more on him in a bit — also chimed in with a comment.)

 

Mama didn't sleep much last night so daddy's on duty! πŸ‘Ά #dadlife #littleNell

A post shared by Steven Nyman (@steven_nyman) on

The clock is ticking for four-time Olympic gold medalist 400-meter star Sanya Richards-Ross …

Milestones

Happy birthday, Prince …

… and mom, Olympic sprinter Bianca Knight, also has much to celebrate.

Happy birthday to Olympic distance runner Shalane Flanagan, who, born in 1981, sneaks in as an ‘80s kid …

 

 

Fellow July 8 birthday, Rio pole vault medalist Sandi Morris, celebrated in style overseas.

A day earlier, four-time Olympic gold medalist basketball star Lisa Leslie, marked No. 45 with her family in Martinique.

Happy anniversary, too, to one of the most memorable skating pairs in United States history, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, who first skated together before they were even teenagers (fantastic photo evidence follows), then went on to win five U.S. Figure Skating Championships titles from 1976-80.

Olympic judoka Marti Malloy also has a memory worth marking …

We have room for pooch “adoptaversary” notes, too, this one courtesy Sochi Olympic skeleton medalist Matt Antoine.

And how about this anniversary? What a difference a year makes for Olympic gymnastics star Simone Biles.

 

a year ago today I made the Olympic Team πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ my heart ❀️😭 7•10•16

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

This, too, from Paralympic triathlete Melissa Stockwell with a life-changing and priceless phone call to boot …

These days, Stockwell has another life event on the way …


Swiss Watch

All the accumulated positive energy poured into the project and overflowing in so many ways to bring the Olympic Games back to Los Angeles paid off this week in historic fashion. We can catch you up on the highs that carried from traveling overseas right up through the announcement that the Games are coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Winterlude …

Yes, summer is most definitely here in many parts of the country (90s and humid along the East Coast, high 80s and low 90s in the Midwest, nearing 100 in Austin, over 100 in Boise, nearly 110 in Phoenix), so it was nice to see this post from Ligety, who looks pretty comfortable carving turns at top speed.

Life is about getting back up, and Team USA slalom skier Robby Kelley found out just how much fans appreciate that approach this past January at a wild night race in Schladming, Austria, when he blew a gate near the finish line but climbed back up the hill (the video of this is sports gold) as tens of thousands cheered for him to complete the race. So, when he took a bit of a fall he posted this past week from Norway, it was hard not to appreciate Kelley’s goodnatured approach to a spill.

 

Every time @dan_poth96 pulls out his phone to video me I eat πŸ’©

A post shared by Robby Kelley (@snooprobbyrobby) on


Just A Number

What’s half a minute between the pool and five-time Olympian Dara Torres?


London Calling

As of Friday, the World Par aAthletics Championships are underway in London, where, quite obviously, some of the most impressive and inspiring stories will be playing out over the course of the competition. Of course, for so many, just getting there should serve as inspiration. It certainly does for Scout Bassett, who explains her story below …

 

The proof of passion is perseverance. 5 years ago, I attempted to make my first Paralympic team and failed to qualify for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Devastated by the pain and disappointment of that experience, I questioned my calling and contemplated quitting the sport. But I’ve always been a fighter and this week, another fight begins at the World Championships! 5 years removed from nearly not pursuing the career of my dreams, I'm humbled to be in the London Olympic Stadium looking for redemption and hungry to make history! I couldn’t be more proud of my tribe for your unwavering love and support that fuels my fire. No matter the outcome, I praise God for it all. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ’™β€οΈ -- 100m Final: Sun July 16 at 4:35PM EST Long Jump: Sun July 23 at 1:00PM EST πŸ“Ί LIVE at www.worldparaathletics.org/London2017 #TeamUSA #TeamCAF #NikeWomen #Stronger #PursuitOfExcellence #OnAMission #London2017 #ParaAthletics

A post shared by Scout Bassett (@scoutbassett) on

 

 


Hands-On

Normally known for what he does with his feet, U.S. figure skating champion Jason Brown showed off some skill with his hands for some serious dinner prep.


Travel Daze

If you’ve traveled with teens lately, you can relate to Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton.

To be fair, there were moments spent away from screen time and instead, appropriately, on the ice.

 


ESPYs Rewind

If the conversation is in the neighborhood of the best sports moments of the year, you know Team USA is going to make an impact. On perhaps the most notable awards show dedicated to athletic excellence, triumph and competition, the spotlight, again, took a red, white and blue hue. Thankfully, many of the central figures helped take us along for the ride — from the pregame to the red carpet and beyond. Or, in Felix’s case, from across the pond.

Olympic legend Michael Phelps, winner of Best Record-Breaking Performance and Best Male U.S. Olympic Athlete this time around, go ahead and grab one of the big ones for yourself …

 

I think someone's excited about the #espys tonight!! #busted

A post shared by Nicole Michele Phelps (@mrs.nicolephelps) on

Fellow international superstar alpine skier Lindsey Vonn once again rocked the red carpet …

Not a bad July so far for two-time Olympic ice hockey medalist Meghan Duggan, who last week was featured in the Body Issue, had a hole-in-one on the golf course on the Fourth of July and now this …

Among the night’s most poignant moments, as has become tradition, came with the presentation of the Jimmy V Award, to this year’s recipient Jarrius Robertson.

Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion Carli Lloyd took note …

As did Olympic gymnast Samantha Peszek …

Lloyd’s former teammate and one of the most memorable leader to ever play for the USWNT, Abby Wambach, served as a presenter. And, from the looks of things, can still motivate with a glance …

 

Pumped for another year celebrating #GatoradePOYs at the Athlete of the Year Awards. Good luck!

A post shared by Mary Wambach (@abbywambach) on

There was also more than a little fun to be had, right Oksana Masters and Aaron Pike?

The Final Five again proved that, no matter the size of the stage, they can steal the show, particularly with Simone Biles taking home some hardware …

 

 

 

one of the most humble athletes I've ever met. also, Ayesha you are STUNNING

A post shared by Laurie Hernandez (@lauriehernandez_) on

 

 

 

oh hi Espy trophies πŸ†

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

 

 

"got to meet a SUPREME dude last night" - @mallory_rickett

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

Paralympic swimming star and Rio champion Becca Meyers won’t soon forget this night …

And Nate Ebner, whose preceding Instagram post involved merely a shot of a trio of rings — two with the NFL champion New England Patriots bookending his U.S. Olympic Committee ring for representing Team USA in Rio as a rugby player, shared in the Pats’ “Best Game” award …

 

Represented Pats. Beautiful girl. Awesome experience all around. #espys @espyig

A post shared by Nate Ebner (@ebs43) on


Mix And Match

Who wore it better? Age-old question. Especially when it comes to fruit cut-outs as clothing for two of Team USA’s workout wonders, Olympic brone medal bobsledders Jamie Greubel Poser and Steven Langton, when they're grabbing a bite at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center's cafeteria.