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."
Some Waffles, Please
As an elite athlete and foodie, Rio triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen knows her way around a movable feast. She’s also pregnant with her first child, due in August, and running and running and running these days …
… As such, it wouldn’t be the worst thing if Jorgensen could just get her fork in a waffle when she wants it.
The last 2X I ordered a waffle in a restaurant a pancake was served due to difficulties making a waffle🤔Maybe I'll stick to 👨🍳 @patlemieux— gwen jorgensen (@gwenjorgensen) March 19, 2017
Sliding In The Right Direction
Not only did Jamie Greubel Poser, teamed up with Aja Evans, earn a bobsled world cup season title this past week, but she finished in style with her second win of the season. Her secret? Perhaps it was this last-lift session before the event in PyeongChang, South Korea:
Lift the🌈, jump the🌈, repeat.✨— Jamie Greubel Poser (@JamieGreubel) March 15, 2017
Last lift before final 2016-17 bobsled WorldCup! Couldn't be more excited that it's on the 2018Olympic track! pic.twitter.com/9Ix7LOoMX1
... And then this happened! Finished off the season with a WIN on the future Olympic track and overall World Cup title! 🏆🙌🏿🙏🏿🤘🏿 pic.twitter.com/PM1h47WDVI— Aja Evans (@AjaLEvans) March 18, 2017
The countdown to PyeongChang is on …
Teammate and two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, who finished second in PyeongChang with Lolo Jones, is now ranked No. 1 in the world in the IBSF standings.
Before heading back to the States, the team gathered for one last meal …
Now home, Meyers Taylor could use a nap.
The Great Unpacking
Returning home also has its disadvantages. No, months on the road and living out of suitcases isn’t easy, but when those suitcases come home, it looks a little like this for three-time Olympic luger and bronze medalist Erin Hamlin:
Aspen just wasn’t the same this time around for Ted Ligety, who had to sit out the racing portion of the proceedings. He did, however, manage to enjoy himself, even catching a priceless moment as a photobomb.
Love That Dirty Water
If Gevvie Stone is going to riff off The Standells’ throwback hit/ode-to-Boston for a hashtag, no doubt she’s comfortable with a Dirty Water reference. The three-time Olympian and Rio single sculls silver medalist — born in Boston and a multiple-time Head of the Charles winner — certainly knows her way around the Charles River, and Stone can now remain as familiar with the city landmark as she’d like for the next three years. At least. Congratulations, Dr. Stone.
You go, Simone Manuel. You take all that Olympic sprint swimming success. Because two-time Paralympic swimmer Colleen Young has you in another significant event …
simone manuel can swim 100 free in 45 seconds but in that same time I can eat an entire sleeve of girl scout cookies so whos the real winner— Colleen Young (@_CRYoung) March 18, 2017
"Dancing with the Stars" is back. As has been the case, spurred by a run of successful Team USA competitors, including champions Apolo Ohno, Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn Johnson, Meryl Davis and, most recently, Laurie Hernandez, DWTS returns with Olympic athletes Simone Biles and Nancy Kerrigan. As with most seasons, this season’s opener also had Team USA on its side …
Both came out of Episode 1 in fantastic spirits …
Not only did Biles wind up with a dance partner on her arm for DWTS, but she also made another addition earlier this week.
If you have to go out, it helps to go out on top. Such was the case for Team USA ice hockey goaltender Brianne McLaughlin, who made more than 50 saves to help her Buffalo Beauts team to the National Women’s Hockey League title this past week. After a career that also included a pair of Olympic silver medals, McLaughlin was also named the playoff MVP. And her parents took an unofficial title home, too, before Brianne went back to work.
Being a gymnast comes with a great many positive personal elements — crazy strength, balance and agility, among them. But it’s not often a gymnast is associated with great size. In the case of Olympic champion 5-foot-1 Shannon Miller, that means waking up one day able to fit the flip-flops of your 7-year-old.
In the case of fellow Olympic champion Shawn Johnson East (4-foot-11), that means doubling as a backpack.
On The Other Hand …
There aren’t many folks who could carry this big fella. At 7-foot-1 and more than 300 pounds, Olympic basketball gold medalist Shaquille O'Neal always seemed larger than life anyway, but he’s now honored in even bigger fashion outside the home of the Los Angeles Lakers. Shaq scored more than 28,000 points in the NBA, and he won three of his four titles with the Lakers, earning him an appropriately gigantic statue that will be suspended above “star plaza,” home to statues of Lakers greats such as Dream Teamer Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. For such a big personality, O'Neal found it easy to be humbled by the honor.
On The Road Again
World-class athletes are often on the run, often to the point that a vacation would be spending time at home — but 2012 Olympic champion and two-time Olympian pole vaulter Jenn Suhr has embarked on a trip that will find her spending much of her time working with the advantages (and occasional disadvantages) or RV life.
Lessons learned along the way …
Underway in Austria (Graz, Schladming and Ramsau) through Friday, the Special Olympics World Winter Games offered more than 2,000 athletes from more than 100 counties their chance to compete at the highest level. Along for the experience of a lifetime were Team USA stars Apolo Ohno, Michelle Kwan and Hannah Teter, who between them have combined for a dozen Olympic medals.
United together again!! Thank you! @specialolympics @austria2017 played floor ball today with athletes from all over the world in another great unification experience. #austria #heartbeat #for #the #world #graz #specialOlympics #floor #ball #athlete #teamwork #thankyou #unified #playunified #changethegame
Conor Dwyer is a man of many athletic pursuits. He swims, of course, and has a pair of 4x200-meter freestyle gold medals to prove it. Ha also surfs. And golfs. And stand-up paddle boards. And hikes. And jet skis. And … he dabbles in ice hockey. As a kid, his father built a rink in the winter. This past week, he had a somewhat bigger stage back in his hometown of Chicago.
Shooting the puck at the @NHLBlackhawks game tonight 🏒🥅— Conor Dwyer (@conorjdwyer) March 19, 2017
Meanwhile, In Minnesota
While Dwyer was on the ice in Chicago, a pair of Team USA curlers, Jamie Sinclair and Alex Carlson, took in a rival’s game in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
The internet holiday of National Puppy Day is always a favorite. Team USA marked the occasion in style …
Rocky Mountain High
If you’ve ever spent some time in Colorado, you can relate to two-time Paralympic swimmer Amanda Everlove …
Pikes Peak ❤️ pic.twitter.com/HlWxqHU6oo— Amanda Everlove (@A_Elove) March 13, 2017
New life plan: move to mountains— Amanda Everlove (@A_Elove) March 19, 2017
I never want to leave the mountains. DON'T MAKE ME LEAVE THE MOUNTAINS— Amanda Everlove (@A_Elove) March 19, 2017
NEVER LEAVING pic.twitter.com/eGGVdW4b2x— Amanda Everlove (@A_Elove) March 19, 2017
Does it get any better than this sentiment from five-time Olympic long-distance runner Bernard Lagat?