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."
Pan … Pacs … Packing
One of the most decorated Olympic teams in the world, competitive on its own with many countries, is USA Swimming. This past week, at national championships, one of the most impressive collections of world-class talent convened once again. And now they’re ready to, again, take on the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
As two of the best head east, Chase Kalisz tipped his cap to the young legend that is Katie Ledecky.
When you sign a contract worth more than $150 million, and your previous contracts have added up to more than that, all of which is pre-endorsement for a man of more than 40 million Twitter followers and more than 40 million Instagram followers, and they call you King James, and you’re in the conversation for the best player in NBA history, you certainly have some means. Three-time Olympian LeBron James this past week also made one of the more lasting impressions any athlete has made by opening a school in his native Ohio. And, wow, is it impressive. But opening day still had the Lakers star nervous.
big dreams for the kids in Akron to give them everything they could need to find their passion, give back to our community and change the world!! This school is that. The people are that. Akron is that. @LJFamFoundation we've always done it big— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 29, 2018
How impressive is the school? Let’s count the ways …
Team USA couldn’t help but gush …
So proud of @kingjames and his @ipromiseschool🙏🏾! We all talk about what we WOULD do to make change or have #IMPACT, but actions speak louder thank words! Super AWESOME🔥🔥 #JustAKidFromAkron #Inspire #MoreThanAnAthlete #GameChanger #ChangingLives #SoBlessed pic.twitter.com/5srTcP6X54— Tamika Catchings (@Catchin24) July 31, 2018
AMAZING! https://t.co/JVCT5kdltH— Summer Sanders (@SummerSanders_) August 1, 2018
All I can say is wow @KingJames ! Not only did you bring hardware to your city, but you created a lane for youth to be prosperous. Amazing ! Thank you to you, your team, your wife, and those close to you that see your vision. Your Kingness is much more that sports !— Ralph Green (@bkskiman) August 1, 2018
Let me just say this, @KingJames your legacy will forever be bigger than basketball! From how you built your business with real friends, opening a school that services the whole community and remaining humble & outspoken for your ppl 🙌🏾 .... So damn proud of you! Thank YOU 🙏🏾 https://t.co/PxD5koYL98— Swin Cash (@SwinCash) July 30, 2018
James, of course, has already left a lasting impression on another school — his alma mater, where he stopped in for a workout on Aug. 1. Look closely and the arena bears a familiar name.
Nothing like being inside the place where it all started putting in work! Felt as great as anything could feel. Love what St.V did for me while I attended and in return i just try to make you proud! #irishpride🍀 #striveforgreatness🚀 p.s. Of course my guy @mikemancias1 is always by my hip on alert! 👀 Yes sir brother!!
Olympic gymnastics champion and star Simone Biles took her most recent competitive bows in Rio. This past week, however, in her return to competition, Biles not only performed, but also talked of being better than ever. Much to the delight of her many fans.
super excited to compete tonight ✨— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 28, 2018
thanks for yalls endless amount of support ! I LOVE YALL ❤️
it wasn’t easy getting back into the swing of things but I’m happy I stuck with it !! hope to make you all proud
It had been 711 days since we last saw Simone Biles compete.— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) July 29, 2018
She made her return Saturday at the U.S. Classic and CRUSHED 👏IT 👏. This beam rotation won her the all-around. https://t.co/Sl69c0CmCu pic.twitter.com/Nvnko2sCuv
Even from Rio I feel like I’ve improved, so I’m pretty proud of myself at this point."— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 29, 2018
Simone Biles won the all-around in her first competition back after the Rio Olympic Games. https://t.co/7p9mYEbzsg
So proud and happy for @Simone_Biles !!!!!! How does she make everything look SO easy?? ;)— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) July 29, 2018
I LOVE YOU MAGGIE https://t.co/Q0VdenMj8w— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 29, 2018
you all are so sweet. reading to many tweets & comments. I love yall ❤️ thank you https://t.co/TN4KOQpsn3— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 29, 2018
The Horse’s Mouth
We know Olympic alpine skiing star Lindsey Vonn is comfortable taking on the risk that is plummeting down a mountainside at nearly terminal velocity. But here’s a new risk: feeding a carrot to a horse … from her mouth.
First, yes, let’s appreciate the fact that talent is being recognized by the next generation during an otherwise mundane workout of an Olympic champion. But let’s also marvel at Laurie Hernandez representing the elite gymnasts of Team USA with hand-walking skills.
July 28 marked the social media observance of #nationaldanceday, and Team USA managed to put a few of its best feet forward, including this slo-mo from the speedy Olympian-slash-NFL wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.
If These Shoes Could Talk
While these shoes on the left can’t talk, the image can. And let Meghan O’Leary tell their story. These are no ordinary neon kicks. They have a story and they have (and this is no pun) a soul. That soul comes through the struggle and triumph of setting sights higher than anyone should have a right to dream and attempting to reach those heights. And that pair on the right will take on new life.
I said goodbye today to a pair of shoes that I probably should have thrown away over a year ago. They weren't just any old set of @nike kicks, they were our 2016 U.S. Olympic Team issued podium shoes. I didn't have the opportunity to wear them on the podium in Rio, but made up for that with thousands of miles of hard work and pounds of sweat over the past two years. Luckily, #Nike accidentally gave me two sets in my gear bag so Project Podium continues. Two more years. 😉 . . #theyusedtobethesamecolor #justatadsentimental #olympics #projectpodium #twomoreyears
Jumping For Joy
For Olympic pole vault medalist Sandi Morris, Greenville, South Carolina, is special. The Greenville High School alum went out this past week and, in front of the hometown crowd for an event showcasing both her talent and the city, took a run at the world record. And, yes, there was a billboard.
IT’S FINALLY ALMOST HERE! Come watch me vault in the second-annual Liberty Bridge Jump-Off this Friday night @ 7pm in my home town Greenville, SC! I’m so honored for an opportunity to show my home town all about the pole vault. ➡️libertybridgejumpoff.com This will be an amazing experience for everyone who attends! Bring the family, bring the friends! Let’s VAULT! #yeahthatgreenville #greenvilleSC #libertybridgejumpoff #americantrackleague
LAST. NIGHT. WAS. EPIC. THANK YOU GREENVILLE! 16’3” / 4.95m for a world lead in front of my home town and a field full of amazing athletes! Video courtesy of @untitled_works!! & Special thanks to @samkendricks @vaultbarber and @scottyhous and the rest of the fantastic competitors for making this night extra special, and showing my home town what Polevault is all about!! ALSO A HUGE THANKS TO ALL SPONSORS!!! @ucs_spirit provided the pit and equipment! #yeahthatgreenville #libertybridgejumpoff #americantrackleague #nike #nikewomen #epic #polevault
My best attempt at the world record from the #libertybridgejumpoff !! What an incredible atmosphere. (Please watch until the very end so @vaultbarber can make you laugh 😆) It’s truly an honor to even be attempting such historical marks, and to be so close to actually making it blows my mind. I feel like I’m RIGHT there. I just have to stay focused, keep chipping away, and believe in myself! More than anything, I believe in my coaching and in my support system. I’m so lucky to have everyone behind me, pushing me to greater heights! 🙏🏼 to 5.07m and beyond!! Let’s GO!! #believe #polevault #grind #yeahthatgreenville #americantrackleague #nikewomen #blessed #athletics #trackandfield
Tin or aluminum? Seems a fairly appropriate traditional anniversary gift for an Olympic bobsledder celebrating the 10-year mark since a fortuitous flight.
10 years ago today I flew to Lake Placid, NY to tryout for the US Bobsled/Skeleton Team. Who knew a family joke would lead to one heck of a decade! #DreamChaser #CreateYourStory #OneLife #MakeTheMostOfIt #3xOLY— Nick Cunningham, OLY (@BOBSLEDR) July 29, 2018
Happy Anniversary, Part II
Kudos, too, to Paralympian Becca Meyers’ wonder dog.
Birdie buns! Happy 3️⃣ year Puppiversary🎈! In the blink of an eye, it’s crazy how fast time flies. Together, we’re having so much fun conquering the world! ❤️🐶🐾 @SeeingEyeInc #seeingeyedog #guidedog #partnersincrime #love pic.twitter.com/BgMxySOEjm— Becca Meyers (@becca_meyers) July 29, 2018
Birdie buns, you would think it would get easier to leave you every time I travel Internationally. It actually doesnt it gets harder. I know you will have a blast at puppy camp and I will see you in 19 sleeps ❤️🐶🐾 @SeeingEyeInc #australiabound #birdierocks #missingyoualready pic.twitter.com/9fY80xaoU2— Becca Meyers (@becca_meyers) July 30, 2018
At a clip of just about a calorie burned per second, Olympic alpine skier Steven Nyman makes a pretty good impression on the bike — even if he’s not in the neighborhood of a record.
Variation On A Theme
Congratulations are in order not only for two-time Olympic short track speedskater Jessica Kooreman on the news, but also for the clever reveal.
Among Team USA’s more uplifting stories from a place of could-be tragedy, the remarkable story of Jamie Nieto’s efforts continues to impress.
For a closer look at his story …
Tick, Tock …
Think Tokyo is on the minds of Team USA athletes? You better believe it …