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."
Here’s wishing a relatively pain-free recovery for Simone Biles, who was generous to share a new entry for “best woozy post-op performance” …
wisdom teeth removal food recommendations GO!— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 25, 2017
One of social media’s great gifts, in addition to fueling the “internet holiday” economy, is to offer fans a closer look at the athletes they admire — for their talent or their candor or, often, both. Social media finds a sweet spot between what happens between the lines, the press conference and the press release, and the results after competition are as varied as the athletes themselves. With Team USA in Budapest for the FINA World Championships, swimming fans had plenty to cheer and athletes had plenty to celebrate (take a look at USA Swimming’s Official Instagram account for a running medals total). A few of our favorite posts from Budapest …
With the World Para Athletics Championships coming to a close this past week in London, Team USA, after earning 59 medals (20 of which were gold) over the course of the July 14-23 event, takes a reflective mood, including Tatyana McFadden, who entered unsure of how she might perform after suffering from blood clots in the run-up to London and exited with four more gold medals.
Mikey Brannigan (two golds, one silver) …
Each day is a new opportunity to prove how badly you want it.— mikey brannigan (@MikeyBrannigan) July 25, 2017
Amanda McGrory (three golds) …
Three races, three medals - with a second silver to cap it all off @paraathletics #WorldChamps in last night's 5000m. Huge thanks to my @illinois1867 and @usparalympics families for the incredible support throughout the week, and my *real* family for making the trek over to London to watch in person. 📷 : James Rhodes
Scout Bassett (two bronze, one in the event where she finished last, the long jump, at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio) …
Hard core cheesinnnnnnn 🥉 I can't put into words what this means to me. They say nothing worth having comes easy and that has been my journey. Over the past 7 years in Para Athletics, I've questioned whether or not I belonged on this stage, I've doubted if I would ever stand on the podium, I've wanted to quit a handful of times, and I've been heartbroken and devastated on and off the track. On the flip side, this has also been 7 years of tremendous growth, staying patient and hungry for my goals, developing perseverance and determination to last a lifetime and building unbreakable bonds. Annnndddddd 7 strong fighting years to win my first global medal! -- If I've accomplished anything in this life, it's because of my tribe whose commitment and belief has helped me to defy all the odds. The real MVP is my coach Tonie Campbell who has taught me that it's far more important to work on the character traits of being a champion and not just the physical capacities. It’s an honor to call you my coach, but I couldn't be prouder to witness that you're an even better human being. -- God was faithful to me as an orphan in China and He's good to me now. Never forget your journey and dreams come true y'all, they really do! 🇺🇸💙❤️#HardWorkForeverPays #NeverGiveIn #YourDreamsAreValid #NotDoneYet #London2017
"Let my lifesong…bring a smile to you." As I reflect on a journey that has been arduous, painful and trying in every way imaginable, I’m overwhelmed by all the love that’s guided my life. Love of my tribe whose patience and belief has transformed my 🌎 Love from friends and fans near and far and faces I've never met whose support and words means so much. Love from within that reminds me who I belong to and my purpose on earth. And love from a God whose faithfulness and goodness has carried me through immense heartache and many storms. Perhaps you've been let down or disappointed, maybe you have been rejected in some form, and others have been told the lie that you aren't enough and don't belong. Choose today to live from the abundant place that you are so loved and worthy and you won’t ever find yourself begging others for their scraps of love or acceptance. You are made without rival...no one can take you out or replace you. I love you today wherever you are and I’m on your team. 💛🙏🏾 #BucketList #Stonehenge #TravelTheWorld #Adventure #LoveIsAllAround #LoveLivesHere #MadeForMore #RunDownYourDreams #YoureWorthIt
Jarryd Wallace (one gold, one bronze, one priceless photo op) …
A bitter sweet night. Saying goodbye to one of the greats in our sport! This man has not only been one of the biggest blessings in my life, but he has truly left a footprint in Paralympic sprinting! His legacy will live on for years to come! Arnu, you set the tone for what true sportsmanship looks like. You competed fearlessly and served your competitors with grace and humility! Thank you for being the man that you are and I look forward to a lifetime of friendship! I love you, brother!
Arnu Fourie, South Africa's retiring track & field standout, responded with his own priceless take: “That picture is definitely going up on my wall!!! Crazy special memories!! Wow appreciate the post man, was such an honor not only sharing the track with you bit doing life together and sharing strong testimonies!! You have already done more in the sport then I could ever have, looking on with expectation how God will use your life through the sport in ways you don't even dream off. Friend for life, looking forward to host you and Lea soon in SA😂“
Meanwhile, Wallace is back and enjoying a week off in style.
Well-earned, the golf spotlight shines bright on Jordan Spieth. And after this past weekend, his young career reached a new height when he overcame a rocky start to his final round at the British Open to win another leg of golf’s career grand slam. Spieth also had to top fellow American, Matt Kuchar, the only U.S.-born player to win a medal at the Olympic Games in Rio, to get there. And where there’s televised sporting drama, Team USA will follow. Twitter didn’t disappoint, either, as the pairing entered the final day, which consisted of Spieth opening with a three-shot lead he wound up giving back, then completely giving away by the 13th hole after an almost comically wayward, way-right tee shot that handed Kuchar the lead. Briefly. Spieth turned things around with a finish as on point as his drive was offline at 13 with a hail of under-par holes to win the Claret Jug.
Spieth’s shaky start …
Jordan... bro...— Ricky Berens (@RickyBerens) July 23, 2017
Come on Jordan...— morgan (@morgangtracey) July 23, 2017
Spieth’s bogey hear ‘round the golf world …
Great bogey https://t.co/GnDWHZ0g0I— Andre Iguodala (@andre) July 23, 2017
Spieth’s turnaround one hole later …
Never seen a stronger showing of mental toughness than what @JordanSpieth just demonstrated.— Mac Bohonnon (@MacBohonnon) July 23, 2017
Big stones on this kid!! Wow Speith what a putt and turn around #TheOpen— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) July 23, 2017
Eagle?! #theopen2017— Travis Jayner (@travisjayner) July 23, 2017
Let's go @JordanSpieth 🏌🏼— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) July 23, 2017
Wow this is golf at its best Matt and Jordan going head-to-head amazing so much fun to watch— MIKE ERUZIONE (@MERUZIONE) July 23, 2017
Happy Anniversary, Part I
The Olympics have a way of forging not only indelible memories from competition and new friends from those experiences, but also lifetime bonds. The Magnificent Seven made history in winning gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games, and look back with great fondness on a magical week 21 years ago.
On this day, 21 years ago, the US Women's Gymnastics Team clinched their 1st Team Olympic Gold Medal in history!! So proud of these women and honored to be a part of the #magnificentseven. @teamusa @usagym #teamusa #honored #memories What are your favorite moments of that competition? (I have mine 😉)
Happy Anniversary, Part II
One year ago remains one of the most symbolically important days in Meghan O'Leary’s life. It was during this week in 2016 Team USA was outfitted for Rio. O'Leary, for her part, has a very visible reminder to this day.
No shame in my shoe game. These @nike kicks were part of the Rio 2016 @teamusa Olympic kit that we were outfitted in a year ago today and are still going strong. I'm pretty sure I could challenge any member of the 2016 U.S. Team for miles logged in these babies. From running to erging to just looking fly, I've put these to work. Perhaps I'm nostalgic or just too lazy to get a new pair, but I do appreciate the bright yellow reminder of where a dream fueled by passion and hard work can take you. #tbt #letsride #cantstopwontstop #committosomething #everydaycounts
Team USA athletes are often giving back, and, thanks to social media, we can see this exchange between Rio Olympic golfer Lexi Thompson and a young fan at a tournament stop in Ohio.
Think the exchange left a lasting impression?
Au Revoir, Paris
Fin. For three American riders, including three-time Olympian Taylor Phinney, who was once injured so badly that his ability to so much as run again was in doubt, made it to the finish line of one of sport’s most grueling endurance events, covering the relatively short 64-mile stage into Paris and along the Champs Elysees. Phinney, the son of a Tour de France stage winner and a two-sport Olympic gold medalist, can officially add this remarkable achievement to his resume.
Tomorrow I will go to Paris for the first time in my life, by bicycle...in the Tour de France. Dreaming.— Taylor Phinney (@taylorphinney) July 22, 2017
Paris and the Tour de France in the rear view. @nicolas___jaar tonight 👨🚀— Taylor Phinney (@taylorphinney) July 25, 2017
The journey of two-time Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto has been well-chronicled in this space, but its most significant steps were taken this week.
Thanks for all the support from my hometown newspaper the Sacramento bee. Another great article!https://t.co/98wRJ06nkT— Jamie Nieto (@JamieNieto) July 14, 2017
Nearing the top of the list all by himself, longtime U.S Men’s National Soccer Team forward Clint Dempsey, while playing for Team USA in the Gold Cup semis, matched 2000 Olympian Landon Donovan for career goal-scoring this past week. Dempsey scored international goal No. 57, and Donovan, who was on hand as a broadcaster for the Gold Cup coverage, sent a classy message.
Should Dempsey take the record over for himself, Donovan’s next hope?
For four years now, Rio pole vault medalist Sandi Morris has been cataloging her hand-written thoughts in the same journal. Unfortunately, that journal has gone missing. And while she turned to the power of social media for a crowd-sourced search, the outcome appears to be bittersweet.
I'm so sad 😔I lost my journal. I've been writing in it for 4 years. I think I lost it between Paris & London. Wrote in it during Olympics 😪— Sandi Morris (@sandicheekspv) July 26, 2017
If anybody finds a journal narrating a medal winning pole vault, it's not a novel draft. RT, let's find it https://t.co/ZiSBFhkGst— David Epstein (@DavidEpstein) July 26, 2017
Lost my journal in Europe. Was sad for many days, but today I bought a new one. Life goes on! I just hope someone reads my story ❤️ pic.twitter.com/H5eJjNbB3N— Sandi Morris (@sandicheekspv) July 27, 2017
This has been quite a week or so for Olympic tennis player Andy Roddick. There was the magazine tour of his Austin, Texas home, yes, but there were also two most lasting events …
Woke up w butterflies.... couldn't be more humbled by the honor of being inducted into @TennisHalloFame today. Wish me luck :)— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 22, 2017
And … then … this significant announcement from wife Brooklyn Decker …
She's on her way... pic.twitter.com/6hWDTUZ15D— Brooklyn Decker (@BrooklynDecker) July 25, 2017
A Sprint In The Woods
We leave you this week with a pretty clear indication of just how impressive an athlete Bernard Lagat is to this day. A little over a year ago, he won the 5,000 meters at the 2016 Olympic Trials, and, now, at the age of 42, is banging out sub-5.10 miles — 10 of them — in a German forest