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."
Simply The Best
It takes one to know one. There aren’t many occasions where that phrase can be applied to the very best in the world — or even competing to be the best in the world for longer than anyone could have imagined. For four-time Olympic tennis champion and legend Serena Williams, herself the GOAT in so many ways, her measured assessment of what it means to be great, to continue to be great, to rise above every new challenge, inspires some of Team USA’s most successful athletes.
🙌🏾🙌🏾 Queen! https://t.co/F60IHdqbnb— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) July 7, 2018
This is a freaking awesome response. Dynasty attitude has to have fuel. This is it. https://t.co/BErhZA9DX5— Heather O'Reilly (@HeatherOReilly) July 7, 2018
Loved her answer !!! ❤️❤️❤️🐐 https://t.co/WoyWiQtLra— Brittney Reese, OLY (@DaLJBeast) July 7, 2018
Heading into the home stretch of the fortnight, Williams had her eye on yet another Wimbledon final. And with a smile.
Five-time cross-country skiing Olympian and gold medalist Kikkan Randall has a new opponent after announcing this week that she would be undergoing treatment for cancer — and, yes, as she points out in the video below, she biked to her first seven-hour session.
The color pink has taken on a new chapter in my life as I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Although we caught it early and the prognosis is good, my life will change quite a bit in the coming months. Please check https://t.co/b4sNiAxtT6 for updates :) #Kikkanimal pic.twitter.com/SQEeJAXaFV— Kikkan Randall (@kikkanimal) July 11, 2018
The news stunned many, prompting an outpouring of support from across Team USA sports and disciplines.
What I loved about meeting you @kikkanimal was your strength. Not just physically but your character of never giving up. No doubt in my mind that you will attack breast cancer like you have attached your entire career earning that gold medal . Thinking you you & your family 💕 pic.twitter.com/TSjtkZ4lJz— Tatyana McFadden (@TatyanaMcFadden) July 11, 2018
Kikkan... Never news we want to hear but I know the positivity you approach each day with along with the strength you possess will overcome cancer. You're a fighter💪 and surrounded near and far by people that are sending their healing love.... https://t.co/gGRtWtObmj— Julie Chu (@juliechu13) July 11, 2018
I always knew you’re a badass and one of the toughest strongest athletes I’ve looked up to and there’s no stronger person to fight through this. Hope it’s a smooth as painless road as possible. 🙏🏼💕🙏🏼💕🙏🏼— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) July 11, 2018
Olympic champion @kikkanimal has announced that she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Everyone who knows her knows she will take on this challenge with incredible strength. Sending our thoughts, prayers, and full support. Follow Kikkan’s journey: https://t.co/UiWhBsv4jw. pic.twitter.com/Aa99pxwe1K— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) July 11, 2018
.@kikkanimal, your friends at bobsled/skeleton have got your back. Sending all of our support and love your way! Thanks for sharing your brave journey. #kikkanstrong @usskiteam https://t.co/GrftslPctG— USA Bobsled Skeleton (@USABS) July 11, 2018
The Other Ski Season
More than gifted on snow, Olympic skier Daron Rahlves, who competed in three Games as an alpine racer and in Vancouver in skicross, carves pretty well on the water, too.
On The Other Hand …
On the other hand, there’s Olympic downhiller Travis Ganong. Ganong, who underwent surgery on both his knees this past January, is back at it on Mt. Hood in Oregon.
Her Instagram bio page now reads “Kendall Coyne Schofield." The Olympic women’s ice hockey champion was married this past week to NFL player Michael Schofield, and the timelines on both sides of the aisle made for a perfectly contemporary way to keep up with the festivities.
Congratulations are also in order for two-time Paralympic champion Roderick Townsend (whose Twitter handle is @thejumpaddict, and, not surprisingly, he won gold as a long jumper and a high jumper) and new wife Tynita, a six-time All-American and elite high jumper.
While there may be no traditional gift associated with 19th anniversaries, in the case of the Women’s World Cup win that made Brandi Chastain a household name overnight, there is no substitute for something longer lasting: a legacy. And, of course, a lifetime of memories for the groundbreaking ‘99ers and those who won’t forget their impact.
@WomensWorldCup @ussoccer_wnt Amazing to think it’s been 19 years has gone by since our 1999 World Cup Victory! Congrats to all the players, staff & organizing comm who gave so much to make DREAMS COME TRUE. The impact has been so far reaching. To think I went to camp soccer camp— Brandi Chastain (@brandichastain) July 10, 2018
@ussoccer_wnt @WomensWorldCup with 200 boys&6 girls, and yesterday @SCUWomensSoccer w/over 200 campers GIRLS ONLY!!! We’ve come a long way BUT still some ground to cover. From the bottom of my ❤️THANK YOU @RoseBowlStadium for our(women in sports) watershed moment.— Brandi Chastain (@brandichastain) July 10, 2018
I would’ve sworn it was 19 weeks ago. Ahhh. https://t.co/fLYBL08ArT— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) July 10, 2018
The 99’ers...Thank You. https://t.co/hkGV1SUsHN— Lori Lindsey (@LoriLindsey6) July 10, 2018
An epic day in sports history. I’ll never forget watching. You guys inspired so many; doesn’t matter what gender, sport, country, etc. What a win. What a team! @JulieFoudy @brandichastain @MiaHamm 🇺🇸💪🏻⚽️ https://t.co/rGyupYKJ7F— Meghan Duggan (@mduggan10) July 10, 2018
Like it was yesterday. I had a similar moment with a PK that put us on the road to to win the state championships in high school. https://t.co/T0vywtKsUX— Morghan King (@kingmorghan) July 10, 2018
I remember the impact of this moment on me as a young athlete. Just watched the 1998 @usahockey women's team win Gold the year before and then the @ussoccer_wnt win the World Cup in shootouts. It was incredible to have such amazing female athletes to look up to! #Pioneers https://t.co/WUrrVjsNsp— Julie Chu (@juliechu13) July 10, 2018
Ah, to be trolled by your wife. In this case, British-born soccer player Dom Dwyer, who made his Team USA debut with a goal this past year, took one on the chin after England lost in the World Cup semis — a bit of news he met with lament. His wife, Sydney Leroux Dwyer, the 2012 U.S. Olympian, however, reminded him there is already a World Cup champion in the house.
One day, It will come 🏠— Dom Dwyer (@Ddwyer14) July 11, 2018
It did in 2015. The gold medal is in the cabinet. https://t.co/eGvDtcMcGC— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) July 11, 2018
Turning The Page
Another week, another heartfelt retirement from the world of skiing. Last week, it was David Chodounsky. This week, it is three-time Olympic alpine skier Stacey Cook, who saw her best results as a downhiller, and, like Chodounsky, pulled up some fantastic throwback images. Keep an eye out in there for skiing legend Glen Plake, too.
With one sunset comes another sunrise. I’ve decided it is time to leave competitive skiing behind and look towards new goals and adventures. I have loved being an athlete and all that it brought including travel, friendship, inspiration, and opportunity. Sport has enhanced my life in so many ways. Now, although I still feel so much love and passion to skiing, I feel most inspired by the thought of realizing my potential in another avenue. I leave behind goals that I deeply wanted to accomplish, but also think back on my dreams as a young girl and how I’ve surpassed those beyond what I could have ever imagined. I know that my constant desire to achieve higher will be a strength moving forward and not a regret I leave behind. I have so many people I’m indebted to for helping me along the way. While too long to list here, I hope I have the opportunity to thank each of you in person in the future, near or far.
I’d say my first weekend of retirement has been alright. Birthday biking, mammoth exploring, and my brother threw me the nicest surprise retirement party with (almost) all my best friends present. It was the best even though I hate surprises!! So grateful for my community and all the kindness I am surrounded by. Thanks everyone for the birthday messages and kind retirement words. It means so much and is a bit hard to process it all in just one week. Maybe I’ll have to extend the party a few more weeks 😝😁😘!
Olympic swimmer David Plummer may be too harsh a self-critic, but every grill master starts somewhere. For Plummer, it was at 7 a.m. with a six-pound brisket. And if you’re going to get Katie Ledecky, Connor Jaeger, Chase Kalisz and Maya DiRado caught up in following along, you must be doing something right.
Update 3: we’re getting close. I got mixed ideas on how to move forward, could wrap in foil for the last couple hours, maybe just stick to the plan and leave it unwrapped. Next check in will dictate how we move forward. Side note: I’ve found that the more time I spend smoking this brisket, the more my southern accent comes out (but that could be the beer).
One of the most impressive careers in any sport earned some appropriate recognition this past week when Maya Moore, the two-time Olympic champion, two-time NCAA champion and four-time WNBA champion, landed a well-deserved cover appearance.
Maya Moore is a four-time WNBA champion, two-time Olympic champion and two-time NCAA champion. 🏆— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) July 10, 2018
The Lynx superstar becomes the second woman to cover SLAM, and the first since 1998: https://t.co/4m0BFWpUBx pic.twitter.com/twpjrfXfkW
San Francisco Treat
Who knew two-time Olympic beach volleyball medalist April Ross was so good with nunchucks? Former partner and fellow Olympic beach volleyball Olympic medalist Jennifer Kessy, of course.
In any event, heading into the weekend, all seemed to be going just fine.
Back in March, Olympic moguls skier Morgan Schild faced the dark days of another rehab, prompting an emotional post that read, in part, “Sadly, I re-tore my ACL. I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to go to my 1st Olympic Games and 2 weeks later learn I have to go through knee rehab again.” Now about 15 weeks post-op, Schild is enjoying a little R&R. Well, a brand of it, anyway, dating back to the beginning of her trip earlier this month.
Olympic silver medalist luger Chris Mazdzer, thanks in large part to his adventurous aunt, was not kidding around this past week in Moab, Utah.
I know I’ve said this in a previous post but my Aunt Deborah is truly an inspiration. At the age of 58 when most people are looking to make their lives comfortable she picked up her FJ cruiser and without any off-road experience has found a way to get out of her comfort zone and built a new passion. Now in her early 60’s she off-roads harder than most guys half her age and the only reason is because she truly loves it. The crazy thing is that this all happened after an automobile accident crippled her severely and left her future uncertain. Thanks for showing Mara and I some fun trails around #Moab #Utah and spreading your amazing energy that makes anything seem possible. Oh yea, and for that tarp that kept us dry when that storm caught us off guard in the middle of the night 😂.
Or during his day job later in the week.
If you thought laying down on a sled and going 90MPH just happens, think again! There is a giant team behind the team and I can’t say thank you enough to everyone at the @sdwindtunnel. Today we spent hours in the #windtunnel testing, making small changes and trying not to get blown away. The sport of #luge comes down to the thousandth of a second and we are going to find all of them!
Uh-oh. The audible concern of a parent who has seen his or her child in action — constant action. And in the case of Olympic gymnast Jonathan Horton’s oldest, it’s just a backflip at about twice his own height into a foam pit.
💥Best backflip gets a FREE #JH💪🏻 T-SHIRT 😲 ‼️Read the rules .................................... 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 #️⃣New hashtag game! #somersaultsaturday Like this post ➡️ post your own style flip and tag me ➡️ use the hashtag ➡️ comment below when you’ve posted‼️ 🔥🔥🔥🔥 #davidtravis #gymnastics #flip #ninja #hortonstrong💪🏻 #godisgood🙏
Not to be outdone …
Not an ideal lie for Olympic curler Jamie Sinclair …
Whales, Baseball And Magazine Features
To say this week has been an adventure for Paralympic skier Danelle Umstead and her family would be an understatement …
Yesterday, some of our family went whale watching 🐳 in small family boat. We got so close Even I could see the whale. I could actually feel his presence. #massive After this video (not captured on video) The whale got even closer. It was pretty scary. #toocloseforcomfort They are beautiful creatures, and very intimidating. We are lucky things didn’t go different. It could have ended really bad. My father in law caught this amazing video #whalewatching #whales @karin.montoya @broctonumstead @davidumstead #onceinalifetime
#NationalGeographic one of my favorite magazines since childhood. Guess who had the honor of being in it 😍 Testing #aerodynamics in the @Toyota #windtunnel— Danelle Umstead (@DanelleUmstead) July 10, 2018
Love being a part of @TeamToyota #athletelife #TeamUSA @USParalympics pic.twitter.com/qzPPy3rvwl
When you win five Olympic gymnastics medals at one venue, including a gold in the all-around, it sure makes sense for Nastia Liukin to come on back to the fondest of memories.
For my 10-year Olympic anniversary, I traveled back to the place where all the magic happened: Beijing. We only had 48 hours to spare, but we made the absolute most of our time: https://t.co/7Z6nMeXPNX pic.twitter.com/JnXCITkQ0B— Nastia Liukin (@NastiaLiukin) July 9, 2018