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 …
Since the start of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games is just under a month away, here is a sneak peek of what it is like to ride on a sled with me and @jaysonterdiman at the Alpensia Sliding Center in South Korea! . . . . #TeamUSA @USALuge #USALuge @USArmyWcap #TeamAmerica #ItsforAmerica @olympics @teamusa #theroadtopyeongchang #olympics #olympics2018 #motivated #excited #gopro @gopro #beahero #justdoit #video #mylife #hq #highquality #amazing #excited #incredible #olympians #Instagood #instadaily #LiveLife #pov #Lovelife @nbcolympics @olympics @usatodaysports @usatoday @espn @pyeongchang2018 @sportsillustrated
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.
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.
Turn sideways to watch.... lost my sled for the first time since 2005.... to be fair, not sure I wanted to finish that ride 🤓🤷🏼♀️ #lost #skeleton #sled we all do it at some point! Live, laugh, get up and do it AGAIN! #NEVERQUIT #ItsForAmerica @USBSF @TeamUSA @Team_neverquit pic.twitter.com/sd3KwsGmfH— Katie Uhlaender (@KatieU11) January 16, 2018
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.
.@DaleJr is headed to the Super Bowl with @SNFonNBC to make his @NBCSports debut, then will fly out to Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics on @NBCOlympics!— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) January 16, 2018
More: https://t.co/uFp5IBu3vl pic.twitter.com/iSI19I8LzX
Due to competition rules, I am not able to give @DaleJr a bobsled ride on the @Olympic track, however, the offer still stands here in Lake Placid, NY before or after the Games! @NBCOlympics @NASCARonNBC @TeamHendrick @NBCSports https://t.co/ab5uQNdmL2— Nick Cunningham, OLY (@BOBSLEDR) January 17, 2018
I'm gonna take you up on the offer. Lets nail down a date and time. https://t.co/LznOWCOciJ— Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) January 17, 2018
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.
As the #olympic team is named today, I cant help but realize how different everything is from what I thought it would be now. Spent my adult life competing with my best friend #stevenholcomb. Never thought I'd be here without him. It's a bitter sweet day to be named to the team. So honored to be part of @teamusa FOR THE 4th time..... and will follow through to honor God, country, friends, and all who helped me get here. Life keeps moving, and I am grateful for each day I wake up and smile remembering the good times. Let's make more good memories!! #congrats @teamusa #olympians @usabs
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:
But she has also worked her way back, time and time again. An inspiring message … set to rhyme:
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
Teammate goals …
It is, however, not a life of leisure for Matt Antoine and company …
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.
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.
It's a tight race in the @therealwfg Continental Cup standings, but that didn't stop @MattJamilton from having some fun with the Canadian Paralympic wheelchair #curling team on Saturday! Read our Saturday afternoon roundup here: https://t.co/fmq40hcm93 #ContCup2018 pic.twitter.com/vypvjpCSzx— Curling Canada (@CurlingCanada) January 13, 2018
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 …
History was just made in Fayetteville (Track Capital of the World) as @hunterwoodhall just became the first double amputee to compete at the D1 level in Track and Field. #WooPig pic.twitter.com/MeJp7XoYgx— Russell Schaap (@russellschaap) January 12, 2018
Cannot describe how big of an accomplishment this was for me. Can't tell you how many times people told me that because of my legs I couldn't chase my dreams. Well I made it, and this is not self praise. It's for everyone that thinks they can't accomplish their dreams. YOU CAN! https://t.co/txrXdQ092W— Hunter Woodhall 🎲 (@hunterwoodhall) January 16, 2018
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 …
10 lbs heavier and a year and a half later... I still got it. 💪🏻— Jonathan Horton (@J_Horton11) January 14, 2018
Felt like playing today while I get in shape for @ninjawarrior #stillgotit #ineverquit #gymnastics #ninjawarrior #flip #kovacs #highbar #olympics pic.twitter.com/OstCHQKIHr
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.
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
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.
Personally, I think you could have run sub 43 in your WR of 43.18 with a faster first 200m, Michael.— Costas Goulas (@lsabre_Avenger) January 16, 2018
You're right. Strategy for WR race was get to race pace quick as possible but no later than 60m. I did but got off the gas at 60 to go into maintain pace mode to 200. If I'd kept pushing to 80-90 meters and increased speed slightly more from 200-300 then 42.8 or 42.9. https://t.co/q1M0yKkkDd— Michael Johnson (@MJGold) January 17, 2018