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."
You Can Go Home (Away From Home) Again
Somewhat famously and prior to going on to win eight Olympic medals as a short track speedskating sensation, Apolo Ohno moved to live and train as a teenager at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. All these years later, Ohno, now 35 and with a "Dancing with the Stars" title, a best-selling book and Ironman under his belt, has returned to the Springs and is sharing his fond memories through the lens of his own new experiences at “the OTC.” Few athletes have spent as much time as a resident of Team USA’s high-elevation headquarters, and his fondness for the home away from home remains palpable.
As she departs, long track speed skating’s Brittany Bowe’s memories are a bit more fresh in her mind …
Sun’s Out …
When the local team mascot is a Sun Devil, one knows that seeing the sun is a way of life. Being ready for the sun, though, is an entirely different story. Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps won’t be caught un-armed.
Van Dyken-Rouen’s Success Story
“I died a few times, was told by the Dr to say goodbye to my husband because they weren't sure I would make it out of the operating room.”
Six-time gold medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen marked an anniversary this past week, as it has now been three years since an ATV accident left her paralyzed. In a post that included the above excerpt, Van Dyken, who is married to former NFL punter Tom Rouen, wrote candidly about how her life has changed — for the better — since the accident. While she lost the ability to walk, she says, she “gained the ability to see the world in a much different light.”
Today, is a day that will be marked in my brain forever. It is the day that 3 years ago I was in a horrible ATV accident. I died a few times, was told by the Dr to say goodbye to my husband because they weren't sure I would make it out of the operating room. I see the world thru different glasses now. Today I took photos as one of "Arizonas most influential women", something great that came out of my tragedy. My life is richer now. 3 years ago today, I lost the ability to walk, but gained the ability to see the world in a much different light. Thank you to my husband, my amazing sister and the friends that have all stood by my side. I love you all so much, and am thankful that you still see me as me...a fighter, lover and a true pain in the booty 😂 6/6/14. #SCI #accident #fighter #alive #friends #grateful (please tag others, I tried to find everyone but I suck at that)
And on the eve of her anniversary, Van Dyken-Rouen was in Dallas, inspiring a crowd at the Majestic Theater.
Even an elite athlete’s most exhausting workout — occasionally, it’s simply for nearly absurd displays of athleticism — can resonate with the Average Joe. So, when 2016 Olympic triathlete and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Katie Zaferes had a training moment, her fans made this tweet one of her most-liked of the year.
You know it's not a great day on the bike when you keep getting your watt and cadence numbers confused.— Katie Zaferes (@KZaferes6) June 3, 2017
Husband Tommy Zaferes, though, shared a point that helped highlight the aforementioned display of athleticism …
Everyone thinks this is funny, but apparently they don't know your cadence is usually around 250.— Tommy Zaferes (@tzaferes) June 3, 2017
Depending on the competition schedule, Team USA athletes almost always have some sort of clock ticking away in their heads with an eye toward the event’s horizon. In some cases, that clock is much more literal. Right, Meghan O'Leary?
The days when you push through the pain, frustration and apathy are the ones that add up; when you uncover that part of yourself that can go deeper and beyond limitations you believed to be your best. The days when you are alone and have nobody to show up for, will you show up for yourself? #dowork #eyeontheprize #everydaycounts @worldrowingofficial @wrch2017 @usrowing
You know who’s fast? Two-time Paralympian and four-time world-record holder Jarryd Wallace. Fast enough there’s only this blur of him en route to a win in one of his two sprint titles this past week in California.
Yup, Still Winter
Snow, snow, won’t go away. Not just yet, anyway. The base depth at Mammoth Mountain, California, ranges from 80-230” … in June. And that makes Olympic snowboarder Louie Vito very happy.
At the beginning of this week, Squaw Valley’s base was 161” after a season total of more than 700, and that makes Olympic alpine skier Travis Ganong (and a few lucky campers) very happy.
Meanwhile, in Austria …
Olympic alpine skiing legend Lindsey Vonn is back to work after a trip to Monte Carlo, Monaco. And while there have been some great days speeding across the snow and epic views in Austria, this is decidedly a work trip. Even for her dog.
Looking back, it was worth the trip.
Ups And Downs
As a gifted slalom tactician, Olympic and world cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin knows a thing or two about keeping her balance. Here’s a look at some balance practice:
With more caps than any goaltender in Team USA history, Tim Howard’s career, which also included great success in the English Premier League, is already the stuff of legend for a U.S.-born player — and he’s still making highlight saves after all these years. Through the magic of social media, fellow member of the Team USA Goaltender Club, Ashlyn Harris, is in the running for chair of the club’s mutual admiration society.
😱😳 Tim's from another planet. 🙌🏽 https://t.co/SpiLjgcFsW— Ashlyn Harris (@Ashlyn_Harris) June 4, 2017
Against Trinidad & Tobago in Colorado on Thursday, Howard and Team USA earned a 2-0 win, courtesy two goals from promising teen Christian Pulisic, who has six goals in a mere 15 caps.
On the other hand, it was wheels up and across the Atlantic for the U.S. women's soccer national team, which traveled to record a 1-0 win over Sweden. But not before launching a few lighthearted tweets for the road.
Haven't had to use my Swedish. I should brush up on this flight! Varsågod! 🇸🇪one thing I never stopped practicing ... fika!— Meghan Klingenberg🍿 (@meghankling) June 4, 2017
🇺🇸✈️🇸🇪— mal pugh (@MalPugh) June 4, 2017
We outtt. 🇺🇸#USWNT— Allie Long (@ALLIE_LONG) June 4, 2017
Canoe Around The World
If the above skiing and soccer posts don’t effectively tell the story, Team USA is often a full-time travel agency with a side order of competition.
The NBA Finals have brought together two of the most star-studded rosters in recent memory together in a matchup many predicted months ago because of those very rosters. For the Golden State Warriors, there are Olympic gold medalists Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green, not to mention the defending MVP in Stephen Curry, who, due to injury, withdrew from Rio consideration. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, there are gold medalists LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Deron Williams.
And Team USA, as Golden State jumped out to a 3-0 series lead and 15-0 on the playoff season, was watching …
Lets go bae @KingJames !!!— Brittney Reese (@DaLJBeast) June 8, 2017
The NHL’s Stanley Cup final is also underway — in this case between a pair of teams in Pittsburgh and Nashville where, for the first time ever, a U.S.-born head coach is guaranteed to win the Cup. Both Mike Sullivan, an assistant coach for the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, and Peter Laviolette, a two-time Olympian and assistant coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, hail from Massachusetts and represent the first meeting of U.S.-born coaches in the NHL’s Cup final.
But forgive three-time Olympic hockey player and one of the best players in U.S. history Mike Modano if he’s missing out on some of the action.
In other baby news … How’s this for a set of positive-energy, red-white-and-blue hashtags: #baby #love #mommytobe #TeamUSA #futureolympian? And the author? The most decorated fencer in U.S. history, four-time Olympian Mariel Zagunis.
And the winner is …
For three-time Olympic alpine skier Steven Nyman, parenthood is that much more present, as he and Charlotte Moats welcomed a beautiful baby girl named ... named ... well ... um ...
Congratulations are also in order for Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte.
Celebrating The Internet
This past week was a pretty good one in the Internet Holiday department, including #NationalDonutDay. Donuts being one of the great cheat treats, Team USA marked the holiday in its own, individual ways.
Team USA had a ball with #NationalBestFriendDay, too.
And Team USA’s elite runners had their own fun with #GlobalRunningDay …
Coburn’s post even brought out some banter among her Team USA friends.
Hahahaha so true— emma coburn (@emmajcoburn) June 7, 2017
This is so cute I can't stand it!— Kara Goucher (@karagoucher) June 7, 2017
Perhaps most poignant, though, was that of Olympic gymnastics medalist Shannon Miller on National Cancer Survivors Day:
Today is National Cancer Survivors Day. It is a CELEBRATION for those who have survived, an INSPIRATION for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of SUPPORT for families, and an OUTREACH to the community. It allows the more than 15.5 million cancer survivors in our nation, along with everyone affected by cancer worldwide - to connect with one another and join together in support. Tag a survivor you know to encourage them. Tag a caregiver you want to thank for all they have done. Let's fight together. #ncsd2017 #nationalcancersurvivorsday #cancersurvivor
The Last Frontier, All Over Again
Alaska boasts countless reasons to visit, and Olympic slalom skier David Chodounsky has added reason to be fond of The Last Frontier. Chodounsky, who like Vonn was born in Minnesota, eventually moved to Colorado before enrolling in Dartmouth — where he won an NCAA title in 2005 — won his 2009 U.S. nationals title in Alaska. This past week, he took enough pics to give all of us reason to consider a trip.
A new-age question from Olympic gymnastics champion Alexandra Raisman …
Green, With Envy
We’ll be seeing a lot a these mountains in the coming months, but we won’t often see PyeongChang’s summer side.