Team USA is full of athletes with many different personalities. There are outgoing athletes, social media stars, quintessential mom friends, daredevils and so much more. All of them would make excellent friends, but a group of them together would make the ultimate best friend squad. To celebrate Best Friends Day, we pulled together a list of 18 athletes who would make up the ideal group.
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1) The Social Media Star - Steele Johnson
Johnson, who won silver in synchronized 10-meter platform diving at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, is a social media maverick. His YouTube channel, where he vlogs about his daily life, has more than 36,000 subscribers, and he shares his passion for photography on Instagram with more than 66,000 followers. He was even nominated for a Shorty Award for his social media presence, so you know this guy has his feeds on point.
2) The DJ - Kate Hansen
Hansen finished 10th in luge at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, but she became a breakout star for another reason entirely: her dancing. Cameras caught "dancin' Kate Hansen" busting a move to a Beyoncé hit while she warmed up for a race, and the rest is history. Give Hansen control of the tunes and there will never be a lull in the action.
3) The Mom Friend - Aly Raisman
Raisman is a two-time captain for the U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics teams – winning six medals in the process – so she has plenty of experience acting as group leader. Teammates have nicknamed her “grandma Aly”; she was the oldest member of both the 2012 and 2016 squads and is known to love nothing more than a good nap. You can count on Raisman to always be looking out for her friends… if she’s not sleeping, that is.
4) The Hipster - Taylor Phinney
This three-time Olympic cyclist comes from the most athletic of families, as both of his parents are Olympic cycling medalists. But Phinney doesn’t fit the typical jock mold. He lived in Italy for three years as a teenager while his parents ran a European bike touring company, giving him a definite European flavor. And those glasses and mustache would fit in at even the most hipster of cafes.
5) The Adventurous One - Joss Christensen
Christensen, the first Olympic gold medalist in men’s slopestyle skiing, is adventurous simply in the nature of his sport. But he took things a step further after Sochi, as he headed to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, to freeski in the urban environment at former Olympic venues for a film project. During the shoot, Christensen was bit by a feral dog and needed a rabies vaccine. Doesn’t get much more adventurous than that!
6) The Mediator - Becky Sauerbrunn
Captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team, Sauerbrunn is known for her calm demeanor and strong leadership. An anchor on the field as well, her presence on defense reassures everyone around her and provides a sense of calm amidst the chaos. Sauerbrunn is also a self-proclaimed nerd, bringing some much-needed logic to the table during any conflicts.
7) The Tough Love One - Claressa Shields
Does it get any tougher than Shields? A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Shields grew up fighting for her life in Flint, Michigan before entering the boxing ring. She was forced to grow up fast and now spends her life fighting professionally, as she made her pro boxing debut several months after Rio. But her unflinching loyalty to those close to her – she attempted to adopt her cousin’s baby in 2014 – bely her huge heart.
8) The Ride-Or-Dies - Meryl Davis and Charlie White
Davis and White became Team USA’s first Olympic ice dance gold medalists in Sochi in 2014, but it didn’t come easy. The two were first paired up in the late 1990s, so close to two decades of partnership and work went into their Olympic gold. Though they won’t be defending their Olympic title, they still skate together professionally, their rock solid relationship as strong as ever. These two might be the most loyal friends you could possibly find!
9) The Clown - Jason Brown
Brown made his Olympic debut in 2014 and made an instant splash with his Riverdance-themed free skate. He’s been making splashes ever since with his huge personality. Always a crowd favorite, there’s never a dull moment when he’s on the ice. Among his favorite events is the World Team Trophy, when he gets to cheer on his U.S. teammates and dress up in outlandish American flag garb. With Brown as a best friend, you would never be short on laughs.
10) The Fashionable Friend - Rickie Fowler
Fowler is one of the most recognizable faces on the golf scene and has never been short on style. He is often the most colorfully-dressed athlete on the greens, wearing bright colors, bold patterns and always looking impeccably snazzy.
11) The Eternal Optimist - Abbey D'Agostino
D’Agostino’s claim to fame came in her lowest competitive moment: at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, she collided with New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin in the 5,000-meter. Though the two were both injured, D’Agostino encouraged Hamblin to finish the race, and the two embraced at the finish line. D’Agostino and Hamblin were awarded the Fair Play Award, and D’Agostino has said that she knows her Olympic moment was about far more than her performance. Nothing gets this girl down!
12) The No. 1 Supporter - Kevin Durant
The U.S. men’s basketball team always seems to have the most fun at the Olympics, often showing up as spectators at other sports' events. Durant is a fixture in the stands: when he’s not leading Team USA to gold on the court, he’s cheering on Michael Phelps in the pool, catching some gymnastics or playing pickup beach volleyball after watching Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross. If Durant is your best friend, you’d never have to look far for a cheering section.
13) The One You Look Up To - Ibtihaj Muhammad
Muhammad is an Olympic bronze medalist in saber fencing, but her role model status goes far beyond the piste. In Rio, Muhammad became the first U.S. athlete to compete at an Olympic Games in a hijab. She serves on the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sport Initiative and, in 2014, she launched her own fashion brand, Louella by Ibtihaj Muhammad, to bring a fresh new look to the modest fashion industry. As if that isn’t enough, she was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016. She's THAT friend.
14) The Fierce One - Michelle Carter
Carter practically defines the word “fierce.” The three-time Olympian placed 15th in the shot put in 2008 and fifth in 2012 before getting her long-awaited gold on her final throw in 2016. Known as the “shot diva,” Carter is a certified makeup artist, so she’s guaranteed to always have her look on point.
15) The Exercise Buddy - Meb Keflezighi
Need motivation to get to the gym? Keflezighi is your guy. A four-time Olympian, he won silver in the marathon in 2004 and has since won both the New York City and Boston Marathons. Though he had stomach problems in Rio and finished 33rd, he slipped on the finish line but turned it into pushups. The oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history, he’s plenty of inspiration to get up and get moving.
16) The Cheat Day Friend - Gwen Jorgensen
After a long week of hitting the gym, Jorgensen is the best person to kick back and relax with. The Olympic triathlon gold medalist knows how to enjoy a good cheat meal, as she and her husband travel the world on designated “foodcations” based entirely around food.
17) The One You Bring Home to Mom and Dad - Missy Franklin
America’s sweetheart! Franklin is a six-time Olympic medalist known for her bright smile and bubbly personality that any parent would love. She’s written a book, gives back to her community, was the ultimate teammate at UC Berkeley, loves her cat, adores her family and always seems to be having a great time. She’s the perfect person to invite to any family function!
18) The Punctual One - Katie Ledecky