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."
Honoring Memorial Day
Unsurprisingly, Team USA, with its deep connections to service, service men and women, and enthusiastic patriotism, comes out in strong support to mark the Memorial Day holiday. Dozens posted respectful messages this past week, including a small sampling below from gymnast Laurie Hernandez, alpine skier Daron Rahlves, swimmer Michael Phelps, short track speedskater Jessica Kooreman, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, luger Chris Mazdzer and figure skater Jason Brown.
During World War II, the U.S. Army's #10thmountaindivision served in combat for only four months, but it had one of the conflict's highest casualty rates. Today we Americans celebrate and remember all our troops who have died in service to protect our country. Thank you. #memorialday #skitroopers #honor #usa 📷: @shetlerrahlves_bareffect
Remembering and honoring our fallen heroes. #MemorialDay 🇺🇸— Kristi Yamaguchi (@kristiyamaguchi) May 29, 2017
Great American Race
Memorial Day weekend also means the Indy 500, which enjoyed a few Team USA touches this past weekend at the Great American Race — which also meant Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy’s best day ever, some pretty good seats for Olympic gymnast Madison Kocian and some Olympic cross-over with a pair of acrobatic Olympians.
New York State Of Mind, Manhattan Style
There’s something captivating about this image, taken with a view of New York City’s Columbus Circle in the foreground and possibility stretching into infinity beyond Central Park, that hints at the wonder of what the future might hold for Hernandez, the gifted young gymnast and Olympic gold medalist …
New York State Of Mind, Upstate Style
Olympic bobsled medalist Steve Langton, a noted outdoorsman who often hashtags his posts with “#itsforamerica,” also took some time out from this training for PyeongChang with a walk in the stunning upstate New York woods.
First, love the hashtag. Moms know strength. Melissa Stockwell is no different. Well, maybe a little different. She’s a two-time Paralympian (with a bronze medal to show for it), a world champion, a motivational speaker, a wounded veteran and Purple Heart recipient. At this point, though, with her August due date looming, she’s a fit mom who posted two fantastic pics this past week to show off where she stands.
Happy Birthday, Jim Craig
Once a cornerstone of an extremely young Miracle on Ice team, Jim Craig celebrated a milestone in style this past week.
Pool With A View
If you follow Conor Dwyer on social media, it becomes apparent that the Olympic gold medalist swimmer not only likes the pool, but he also really likes jumping into the pool — often scaling new heights to do so. A little over a year ago, there was this slow-mo dive in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In September, there was this slow-mo high jump with an LA backdrop. In October, it was a slow-mo from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. December brought a high-rise jump from Dorado. Well, he’s back in Colorado Springs and working out at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and he’s found one stunningly set pool again. If there’s a pool with a view, Dwyer is going to jump in … again and again and again.
In the U.S Forest Service’s Mushrooms of the National Forests in Alaska, this is noted: “Gray fire morel is a choice edible; however, not everyone can tolerate morels even when well cooked.” Olympic cross-country skier Sadie Bjornsen, in Alaska after training in Oregon with Team USA, appears undaunted by the likes of any warning about questionable morels.
In retirement, two-time Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has some time on his hands to keep up with and comment on the sports world around him. Considering the successes of the author, and the sheer size of his Twitter following (more than 11 million), these notes of encouragement are often high praise. This past week, he used his platform to pay “my sis,” Team USA soccer standout and Olympic gold medalist Sydney Leroux, a very public compliment.
When it comes to vacation spots, the resort town of Monte Carlo, Monaco, offers a slice of life in the fast lane. Even if that fast lane is in the water, Olympic alpine skiing legend Lindsey Vonn is going to look for a high gear.
A Taste Of Winter
Thankfully for the diehard skiers and snowboarders (and their kids), one of the great snow seasons in memory out West is still hanging around.
Olympic halfpipe skier Torin Yater-Wallace is also catching a good deal of air this week, too.
Olympic downhiller Travis Ganong, meanwhile, is going to keep climbing while there’s snow.
Paralympic alpine skier Andrew Kurka is certainly enjoying the late season, too.
Two-time Olympic snowboarding medalist Hannah Teter isn’t going to turn down many chances to shred into June …
… And Olympic champion halfpiper David Wise is going to get his groms out on the snow as long as it’s around.
One of the great joys of following Olympic and Paralympic athletes on social media, in addition to tapping into their own perspectives on training and competing (or vacationing and having fun, of course), is seeing where the Team USA ride takes them. This past week, Olympic ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson attended a FIS conference in Portoroz, Slovenia. Thankfully, she chose, instead of posting many pics of the indoor meeting spaces, to post a couple of the most beautiful outdoor pics we saw from Team USA this past week.
Stunning day for a walk in Slovenia 🌞 pic.twitter.com/aY7upzwYMp— Sarah Hendrickson (@schendrickson) May 28, 2017
Part two of the day 🐤🐥 pic.twitter.com/FylR8QYTTo— Sarah Hendrickson (@schendrickson) May 28, 2017
Make that three of the most beautiful pics; the ride home doesn’t look so bad, either.
Nice day to fly 🛫✈️🛬 pic.twitter.com/kLfExMMNSl— Sarah Hendrickson (@schendrickson) May 29, 2017
This past week’s Diamond League event in Eugene, Oregon, brought with it many compelling storylines, both as an international event and a showcase of Team USA’s best — particularly in the women’s long jump, one among a number of events where the United States sent multiple athletes to the podium. In the women’s long jump in Rio, Tianna Bartoletta won gold, followed by Brittney Reese, and it was the same result in Eugene. What made the post-event social feed that much more compelling in this case, though, was the way Bartoletta took such an optimistic view of both of their futures.
Speaking of optimistic posts from Eugene, we also have four-time Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross, who was calling the action as part of the broadcast team …
One-time Katie Ledecky medal-hanger Bryce Harper, who dutifully held the young Olympic swimming legend’s medals while she threw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Washington Nationals game this past August, has some time on his hands. Thanks to a suspension following an on-field incident, the Nats phenom had some enforced downtime, and Ledecky offered a way for him to pass the time before MLB handed down its ruling.
Congrats to the @Nationals today on the shutout...wish I could've come to the game. Anything interesting happen? 😂— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) May 30, 2017
...@Bharper3407, if you end up suspended, come on down to Palo Alto and hang out at the pool for a day!— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) May 30, 2017
Dose Of Inspiration
There was a time for two-time Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto, who suffered a severe accident that left him paralyzed, when this would have seemed nearly unfathomable.