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."
For a dose of inspiration, catch up on the tale of Olympic hurdler Aries Merritt …
Hurdler Aries Merritt is back following a life-saving kidney transplant from his sister 🙏 pic.twitter.com/NuWpPjjOrD— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 12, 2017
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.
This dude's a stud! ✨👇🏾 https://t.co/jgFvUp9kzu— Elana Meyers Taylor (@eamslider24) July 13, 2017
Im so happy he's back https://t.co/9VdTJx5nU7— Ashley Spencer (@theTrackQueen) July 13, 2017
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.)
The clock is ticking for four-time Olympic gold medalist 400-meter star Sanya Richards-Ross …
Happy birthday, Prince …
Happy Birthday Prince 👑🎂 2 years & Counting ✨ pic.twitter.com/Ha1trWWJz0— BIANCA KNIGHT (@MsBiancaAK) July 8, 2017
… and mom, Olympic sprinter Bianca Knight, also has much to celebrate.
Prince has done so much for me in 2 years. He's made me more considerate, compassionate, patient, and understanding of others...& w/myself.— BIANCA KNIGHT (@MsBiancaAK) July 8, 2017
Happy birthday to Olympic distance runner Shalane Flanagan, who, born in 1981, sneaks in as an ‘80s kid …
It's my birthday....so I'm playing Billy Joel all day 🎂💕🇺🇸☀️#eightiesKid— Shalane Flanagan (@ShalaneFlanagan) July 8, 2017
My 36year old bday workout, compliments of Jerry.(Mile, 1200, 800, 400) 4:41, 3:26, 2:13, 63. Working on that speed😳🎂— Shalane Flanagan (@ShalaneFlanagan) July 8, 2017
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.
I'm so thankful for another amazing year! Moving to South Florida, new home, getting my real estate license and working... oh and most importantly.. being a wife and a mom🤔 It's been an Amazing Year and God has blessed me and my family through it all! At the end of the day, it still comes down to family first! Just giving God the glory for blessing me on my Birthday! 🙏🏾Happy Birthday to all the other amazing Cancers 🦀out there!💋💖
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 …
2 years ago today I won the Pan Am Games! Something I always aspired for!!😄🤗 pic.twitter.com/9feJvZXWTO— Marti Malloy (@Martidamus) July 12, 2017
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.
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 …
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.
On my way to Switzerland for @LA2024 presentation! Can't wait to share the vision of LA with the world!— Angela Ruggiero (@AngelaRuggiero) July 8, 2017
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti signs the 'Golden Book' at the Olympic Museum pic.twitter.com/liomzlZP20— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) July 10, 2017
I'm not falling for it...we know you still got it🤗 https://t.co/1ZtG4KicfD— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) July 10, 2017
Mayors of LA and Paris join President Bach on stage to celebrate decision for double allocation of Olympic Games 2024 and 2028 pic.twitter.com/mL7svbg7l6— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) July 11, 2017
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.
Just A Number
What’s half a minute between the pool and five-time Olympian Dara Torres?
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. 🇺🇸💙❤️ -- 100m Final: Sun July 16 at 4:35PM EST Long Jump: Sun July 23 at 1:00PM EST 📺 LIVE at www.worldparaathletics.org/London2017 #TeamUSA #TeamCAF #NikeWomen #Stronger #PursuitOfExcellence #OnAMission #London2017 #ParaAthletics
World championships start tomorrow!!!!! I am so happy and blessed to be healthy. Three months ago I was in intensive care for #bloodclots 🙄it has been quite a journey to be able to get to this point. One thing I won't take for granted in life is health. So excited to be competing again ❤️#teamusa #nike
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.
Making sushi! 今日、私はすしとツナマヨおにぎりを作りました！！！とってもおいしい！❤️😋🍣🍙 pic.twitter.com/5kD62otO1l— Jason Brown (@jasonbskates) July 9, 2017
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.
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.
Bummed I can't be at the #ESPYS tonight, work calls overseas, but I'm very honored to be nominated for Best Female US Olympic Athlete!— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) July 12, 2017
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 …
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 …
Congrats. Best dressed too!! https://t.co/OHpQyX3ufQ— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) July 13, 2017
As did Olympic gymnast Samantha Peszek …
I love him. https://t.co/mWLwMPrRX6— Samantha Peszek (@samanthapeszek) July 13, 2017
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 …
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 …
Espys ✨✨✨ pic.twitter.com/pQlF0yem9G— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) July 12, 2017
Paralympic swimming star and Rio champion Becca Meyers won’t soon forget this night …
"Just because you have a disability doesn't mean you are limited, you just have to find that one thing that makes you feel free ⭐️" Thank you to everyone who voted and for all of your support! Thank you to @tommyhilfiger and @speedousa for making me feel like a princess tonight 💃 #espys #bestfemaleathletewithadisability
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 …
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.
Who wore it better? 🍉👗😂 Always #dressedtoimpress with @stevenlangton. . . . #watermelondress #bobsled #olympians #fun #summerfashion #trends #fruit #comedy #teammates #teameffort #teambonding #athletelife #flexing #muscles #healthyfood @teamusa @usabs @loumoreira @justinbolsen @evanweinstock @codiebascue13