By Jamie MacDonald | Jan. 19, 2018, 7:54 p.m. (ET)

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."

 

Ride Along Programs

As camera technology has advanced, so, too, have the many ways to bring fans closer to the action — and that's particularly true when it comes to athletes at the highest levels. Take one hypnotic lap with PyeongChang qualified and Sochi speedskater Joey Mantia at the Utah Olympic Oval.

If you prefer to go a little faster, join Olympians and PyeongChang qualified luge teammates Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman on a wild ride …

On the other hand, we have Ted Ligety. We've seen some epic POV videos of the Olympic alpine skiing champion bombing down mountainsides. This is not one of those times. View this with the volume up and tap into just how taxing a trudge giant slalom can be in Austrian powder.

 

Powder skiing and GS courses are a tough combo. @gopro #trainingcancelled #powderday

A post shared by Ted Ligety (@ted_ligety) on

In an even less successful — and entirely more dangerous — trip, Katie Uhlaender, who recently qualified for her fourth Olympic Winter Games in skeleton, loses her sled and goes it alone. This is not recommended.


Track Stars

Speaking of ride-along programs, NBC's Olympics broadcast team will include the most popular driver on the NASCAR circuit, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who recently retired from the sport. Which opens up such opportunities as appearing on television … and taking Team USA up on offers to jump in a sled and go for a ride.

 

 

 


Remembering ‘Holcy'

Last May, the Olympic family lost three-time Olympic bobsledder Steven Holcomb, stunning Team USA in general and striking the sliding community particularly hard. Now, as athletes look ahead to the PyeongChang Games, where the most decorated U.S. bobsledder in history would almost certainly have figured, Holcomb is at the forefront of so many minds.

 


Alternative Plans

The Paralympic training spirit is strong in Switzerland, with world cup events paving the road to PyeongChang for two-time Paralympic skier Danelle Umstead and her teammates — who, when the weather cancels competition, can carpool with the best of ‘em.

 

 


Poetry In Motion

Olympic alpine skiing legend Lindsey Vonn's career has been marked by speed, by wins, by determination, by skill, by perseverance … and by scars. A flashback to Nov. 15, 2016:

 

😳

A post shared by L I N D S E Y • V O N N (@lindseyvonn) on

But she has also worked her way back, time and time again. An inspiring message … set to rhyme:


'Terrifying' Return

Laurenne Ross is back, too. But it isn't all easy for the Olympic alpine skier who lost nearly a year to “a torn ACL / LCL / medial meniscus / lateral meniscus / popliteal fibular ligament, dislocated tibiofibular joint, and a broken tibial plateau.” The post-race well of emotions was difficult to contain, and her Instagram followers benefitted from the candor.

 

It's been said, posted, and shared many times but deserves repeating: this weekend was absurdly difficult. Conditions in #wcbkk18 (Bad Time) were icy, bumpy, fast, and dark. I don't remember having fun on the course at any point over the weekend, other than maybe when I skied around the bumps on the last turn in DH and felt happy/clever about that and also had to giggle a little when I looked back and realized I didn't reach for the finish line for the first time maybe ever bc why. Hah! What a trip! Needless to say, my first DH race back since my knee injury was terrifying and I'm so so glad it's over. It took a lot of courage to push out of the start gate yesterday, a great deal of determination to make it to the finish, and perhaps a bit of insanity to actually try to go fast. I worked through a lot of fear, doubt, and tears, but I'm hopeful that stepping up to that challenge yesterday will likely be the most difficult thing I will have to face this winter. And now, every other course will seem easy (and hopefully enjoyable)! So, anyway...moving on! 🔛 to Cortina 🏔️ #13th #worldcup #downhill #badtime #notfun

A post shared by Laurenne Ross (@lalalaurenne) on


Kickin' It

Teammate goals …

It is, however, not a life of leisure for Matt Antoine and company …


Cook, Top

Daly did, however, try on his judging hat for a television appearance with Olympic champion figure skater Meryl Davis and Olympic silver medalist slopestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, which aired this past week.

 


Curling Up

Continental Cup crowds this past week were treated to PyeongChang qualified curling athlete Matt Hamilton, who will be looking to compete in both the men's and the mixed doubles competitions, and he does little to dissuade the notion that he's a pretty entertaining fellow on and off the ice.

 


When They Say You Can't …

This past summer, Paralympic sprinting star Hunter Woodhall became the first double-amputee to earn a Division I track scholarship. Now add this to his list of achievements …


He Still Has It

Occasionally, one might wonder just how talented an elite athlete might be to compete in the Olympic Games. For a gymnast, two-time Olympian Jonathan Horton gives us a glimpse. Horton is a retired gymnast who battled shoulder and pectoral muscle injuries over the past few years, and this is what he can still do without breaking a sweat …


Pool Hopping

This figures. Of course, Maggie Steffens, one of the very best water polo players in the world, and she has two FINA Women's Water Polo Athlete of the Year awards and two Olympic gold medals to prove it, found a pool, however small, while enjoying her “new, temporary home” of Budapest, Hungary.


'Dear Diary …'

In a heartfelt Instagram post, three-time Olympian Lolo Jones begins to work her way through the emotions of not being named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team. In the first 24 hours, the post to her 382,000 Instagram followers generated more than 88,000 views.

 

Dear diary

A post shared by Lolo Jones (@lolojones) on


Tokyo On His Mind

It's more than 900 days away, but David Boudia is thinking about the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Every day.

 

Hard to believe this was almost 6 years ago! Putting in the hours to make this happen again in Tokyo 2020 #Repost @world__diving with @get_repost ・・・ David Boudia @davidboudia, Olympic Games 2012 in London, men's platform 10m! This man is forever in history diving!🇬🇧🇺🇸 • Давид Боуди @davidboudia, Олимпийские игры 2012 в Лондоне, мужчины вышка 10 метров! Этот человек навсегда вошёл в историю прыжков в воду!🇬🇧🇺🇸 • #sports#diving#London#olimpicgames2012#platform10m#man#historydiving #perfectdive#greatman#strongman #bestofthebest#davidboudia #olimpicchampion#goldmedal#bestdive #competition#excitement#joy#pride #americandiver#congratulations

A post shared by David Boudia (@davidboudia) on

 

Feels good to be back into rhythm! #tokyo2020

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What Might Have Been

In one of track and field's great moments, Michael Johnson, the king of the 400-meter, went out and struck not only gold in the 400, but also in a blazing fast 43.18 — a record that stood for nearly 20 years. It could have been even faster.