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."
Now, Shaun White’s Heart Is Famous, Too
If you weren’t someone who helped Jimmy Kimmel Live earn more than 8.3 million YouTube views for an emotional opening monologue detailing the very scary story of his newborn son’s birth, which led to open heart surgery at only three days old because of a heart disease, you can keep up with a postscript featuring a very famous Team USA athlete. As it turns out, snowboarding legend and Olympic champion Shaun White’s birth story, thanks to suffering from the same heart disease, is very similar to that of Kimmel’s son. The 2018 Olympic hopeful, after driving in from Mammoth, California, joined Kimmel this past week to put the talk show host at ease. Kimmel, while cracking about the concerns that his young son might now grow up as a snowboarder, certainly appeared to appreciate White’s heartfelt and positive words.
Toward the end of the segment, White also hints that while he is of course setting his sights on PeyongChang after a disappointing Sochi Games, he may also have 2020 in mind. Yes, 2020. For skateboarding.
Jane … meets … her … ultimate … match. Former Olympic judoka Ronda Rousey, who competed at the 2004 Athens Games and earned a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games, took her talents to primetime, trading a few punches (and kicks) in this past Wednesday’s episode of "Blindspot."
The above video earned more than 590,000 views, and the appearance also landed Rousey her starring role in a Wednesday takeover of NBC’s Instagram, leading to some excellent photo ops.
May … The … Fourth
Calling all Star Wars nerds. Attention: Calling all Star Wars nerds. It’s May, the 4th …
May the 4th be with you 😂 pic.twitter.com/r7MoWfD6UJ— Meryl Davis (@Meryl_Davis) May 4, 2017
May the 4th be with you 💫— Tatyana McFadden (@TatyanaMcFadden) May 4, 2017
After wrapping up his season this past month with Team USA overseas, U.S. champion figure skating Jason Brown has earned some downtime. And he’s certainly making the most of it. After spending some time in Hawaii and making his mark on the Team USA promo shoot in California, there arrives this backpacking-trip-of-a-lifetime through the Philippines with his sister …
Made some new friends yesterday! 😍✌️ 私のあたらしいともだちたち！とてもかわいい！❤️🤗💙 pic.twitter.com/QmUVKqt2Ad— Jason Brown (@jasonbskates) April 30, 2017
Losing myself in the beauty of this country! とてもきれいなくに！💙💚💙💚💙 #🇵🇭 pic.twitter.com/y5uTrFiaSm— Jason Brown (@jasonbskates) May 3, 2017
...And the sun sets on our final night in the Philippines! ☀️✨🌙💛 pic.twitter.com/V8MRGlSHRe— Jason Brown (@jasonbskates) May 4, 2017
Also traveling these days, we find one of Team USA’s busiest moms-to-be, Paratriathlon medalist Melissa Stockwell.
The epic 14 day trip begins: ORD-KON-BWI-TPA-EWR-ORD & a drive to MI. Starting off in style w/ a delayed flight. Of course. #OnTheRoadAgain— Melissa Stockwell (@MStockwell01) May 1, 2017
After only a few days on the road, however, this might be her best pic …
Off To Work We Go
On the other hand, spring also marks merely a beginning. For so many Team USA athletes, particularly in an Olympic year, this time of year means the hard work starts … now.
Along with a constellation of famous stars in town for “fashion’s biggest night out,” tennis legend and Olympic champion Serena Williams rocked the Met Gala, from prep to dress to wrap. Game, set, match.
With the help of 5.7 million followers on Instagram, the three posts above earned more than a million views.
Photo Ops O’Plenty
Team USA is ready for its close-up. Over the past week or so, as preparation for NBC’s coverage of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games, Team USA athletes have been participating in a hail of media shoots that have involved everything from competition gear to puppies. And goats. And kittens. Here, a second round of highlights from the past week, featuring figure skaters, skiers, snowboarders and sliders.
Prior to the naming of the 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team, 42 of the most talented players in the country gathered in Tampa, Florida, for the U.S. Women’s National Team Selection Camp, including eight two-time Olympians. The eldest of the lot, among six goaltenders was 31-year-old Jessie Vetter. Making her tryout appearance even more impressive was the fact that Vetter gave birth to her first child only two months ago. While in Tampa, Vetter’s mom posted this beauty:
Dad eventually joined the crew, too …
Hockey Around The World
While we’re on the topic of hockey, this is also IIHF Men's World Championship season. This year’s tournament will take place May 5-21 in Cologne, Germany, and Team USA will be captained by Connor Murphy, who has played 38 games for Team USA. Get to know him here:
All Write Now
We can now welcome Olympic and Women's World Cup champion Julie Foudy to the ranks of Team USA authors. Let her remind you.
Me to anyone I meet today (& frankly for the rest of my life): I am an author. 🤓 I don't know if I have told you. But I AM AN AUTHOR. https://t.co/zo3KsfeAUv— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) May 3, 2017
The Team USA feedback has been pretty good, too …
For a dose of inspiration …
5 years ago I didn't make my junior high championships. Today I became the fastest Utah high schooler ever to run 400m. 46.56, glory to God. pic.twitter.com/xVUFkQyxAk— Hunter Woodhall 🎲 (@hunterwoodhall) April 30, 2017
Hunter Woodhall’s self-professed “spirit animal,” according to an Instagram comment, as it turns out, is Paralympic track star Scout Bassett. Have a look at her post below to see why.
New endeavors and continued blessings ✨🇲🇽 Less than 2 years ago, I left an incredible job, traded one home/life for a new one to follow a dream that seemed improbable. I had nothing but a relentless worth ethic, passion to make my mark on this world and a determination and will that couldn't be matched. To tell you that I’ve struggled wouldn't be purely authentic and real. I have been defeated. I have failed. I have hurt and suffered. I have felt unworthy and broken and I've even questioned my purpose. But by the grace of God and my all-in tribe, I have also triumphed and overcome. Standing here among 2,000 yrs of history, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to be living this lifetime dream. I’m not wealthy and I haven't accomplished all that I've wanted to, but I've never felt more rich in experience, in love and joy, in growth, in hope and in courage and strength. Our lives are not determined by what life brings us, but rather by the attitude we bring to life. Some of you may be looking at dreams that feel entirely out of reach. You’re worn down and drained by life’s demands and challenges. Perhaps you’re in a season of despair and discouragement. Maybe you've endured a lifetime of hardship or you're fighting battles no one knows about. And others are coping with heart-wrenching loss and deep pain in your soul. If you’re reading this, I hope you realize how strong and beautiful you truly are. The potential you have in life and how your mega heart impacts other lives. The world needs your love, your light and your resilience. Do not quit now. I believe in you and I know you've got what it takes. I love you today wherever you are and I'm on your team. 💛🙏🏾 #NeverGiveIn #MadeForMore #RunDownYourDreams #YoureWorthIt #Adventure #TravelTheWorld #IShouldWriteABlogNotInstagramNovels #MyBad #Mexico