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."
We already know that Elana Meyers Taylor is a wildly successful athlete. There are the 11 letters she earned in four sports in high school, the excellent softball career at George Washington (where she was team MVP each of her four seasons, twice batting more than .400) and, of course, the Olympic appearances and medals. But there’s also … well, let her proud husband, Nic Taylor’s words from an Instagram post cover it …
“I’ve had the pleasure to watch this woman, become a world champion twice over, earn 2 masters degrees, win 2 Olympic medals, earn a spot on the MENS National bobsled team, play 7’s rugby for team USA, and get awarded a PHD. But today, @elanameyerstaylor is the #president elect of the @womenssportsfoundation! Look out world and anyone trying to infringe women’s rights, because @elanameyerstaylor is a FORCE to be reckoned with!"
For Elana, the job description is one of inspiring.
She’s also squeezing in some healing time, too. And at superhuman speed. Naturally.
Meyers Taylor is also quick to wish fellow Team USA athletes words of encouragement, happy birthdays, good lucks and get well soon notes, as she did for British skeleton athlete Lizzy Yarnold. Classy.
Wishing you a speedy recovery! https://t.co/oc7yLjqN0Y— Elana Meyers Taylor OLY (@eamslider24) July 17, 2018
Jolly Good Time
“… just the beginning.” Look out, tennis. Olympic tennis legend Serena Williams is back, and reaching a final in a major is no small feat with a young daughter. Williams’ heartfelt look back at the fortnight in England is the kind of post that makes social media sing. In this case, to the tune of nearly 500,000 likes.
These past 2 weeks was amazing. It also was a sound for all moms stay home and working you can do it you really can! I’m not any better or diff than any of you all. Your support has ment so much to me. Let’s keep making noise everyday in everything we do. I’ll be back (and soon too) Road to the Us Open is next! Stay strong no matter what. Oh and this is just the beginning. Love you 💪🏿
And more than 100,000 for …
Days after our baby girl was born, I kissed my wife goodbye before surgery and neither of us knew if she would be coming back. We just wanted her to survive—10 months later, she's in the #Wimbledon final. Congratulations, @angie.kerber. @serenawilliams will be holding a trophy again soon—she's got the greatest one waiting at home for her. Our family knows she'll win many more trophies, too. She's just getting started. And I couldn't be more proud.
With Wimbledon in the rearview mirror, Williams had some time to reflect back on 319 remarkable days.
Today I say Olympia fall... but she got back up. She fell again almost immediately.... and almost immediately she got back up again. She always had a smile on her face. I learned a lot from Olympia today. Thank you my baby love. pic.twitter.com/pn0iUCZG6Q— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 19, 2018
If it’s an awards show for athletes, you know Team USA is going to be on the scene. Two of the biggest winners of the night? Team USA’s Olympic ice hockey champions and the legend that is Shaun White.
Wow, just won another ESPY for Best Olympic Moment! I got so choked up from watching the emotional victory footage from my win that I forgot to thank some people so here’s my chance... thanks to all my friends that came to the Olympics and everyone cheering from home, my family that has always shown unwavering support, my girlfriend @sarahbarthel who has been a true partner and friend who’s helped me through the craziness that is life, @jjthomas_ my coach and brother, @tobymiller my life coach/son haha, @estalee11 my physical therapist who was the glue that kept the whole team going, @shelbymeade who is always a positive force in my life, Kenny my wax-tech who keeps me hauling ass in the halfpipe, all my sponsors and the fans that have supported me and continue to support me! I Love u all!!! #espys #olympics #blessed
But first, some pregame …
The golden U.S. Olympic Women's Hockey Team, which is nominated for Best Team, Best Game and Best Olympic Moment, has arrived at the #ESPYS red carpet! #TeamUSA🇺🇸🤞— USA Hockey (@usahockey) July 18, 2018
Tune in tonight at 8pmET on ABC. pic.twitter.com/PEcUXntIBo
On To The Next One
For some of Team USA’s brightest stars, it didn’t take long to find another awards show …
So much fun at the Kids Choice Sports Awards tonight! Thank you so much for voting, it’s amazing to win another blimp because of my amazing fans! Thanks @romanreignsofficial for letting me beat you in the tissue paper contest... bucket list item right there ☑️😜 time to sleep and get ready for another day of training tomorrow! #thankyou @kidschoicenick @smac_entertainment
Show of hands for everyone who saved a rabbit’s life this week? Apparently, taking on this sort of mission is more a pressure cooker than the Olympic Games — where decathlete Trey Hardee happened to win silver in London.
I resuscitated a drowned baby rabbit this morning in front of 4 children. In all my life, I have NEVER felt the pressure to succeed as I just did. This little guy hopped away about an hour later- 👌🏼 pic.twitter.com/1GnTSBFZC2— trey hardee (@treyhardee) July 18, 2018
Thinking Of You
Last week, we learned that Olympic champion cross-country skier Kikkan Randall would be undergoing treatment for cancer. This week, her Team USA training partners are thinking pink.
Wind-up, And The Pitch …
The St. Louis Cardinals opened their doors to a trio of Team USA gold medalists in sled hockey players Steve Cash, Billy Hanning and Josh Pauls. Cash, a three-time Paralympic gold medalist, and Hanning were born in St. Louis, while Pauls, also a three-time gold medalist, is a coach in the St. Louis area.
We recently hosted @stevecash34, @spudsusa27, @Hands2Feet1 and Jeff Glasbrenner, all members of Team USA, at Busch Stadium. Hear more about their ties to St. Louis, their love for #STLCards baseball, and their personal stories of perseverance. pic.twitter.com/IkucF1Cotl— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 16, 2018
Celebrating The Emoji
Leave it to USA Football to put a pigskin twist on the internet holiday.
🏈🏈🏈🏈🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸— USA Football (@usafootball) July 17, 2018
How quickly do things happen in judo? Let two-time Olympic judoka Nick Delpopolo show you the ways.
Technical work with @lalasmithiii this morning at @eastsidedojo. Big thanks to Olympic and World medalist @nyamochir_sainjargal as always 💪👊 #TeamUSA #2020Vision #RoadtoTokyo pic.twitter.com/rs92uT33ZX— Nick Delpopolo (@NickforGold) July 16, 2018
Strength In Numbers
Olympic gold medalist wrestler, Helen Maroulis, Team USA’s first female gold medalist in the sport, and Victoria Anthony, who just missed a shot at Rio when she finished second in her division at the U.S. trials, both check in at a shade over 5-feet and not much more than 100 pounds, but do their admirable best stacking up next to a behemoth.
It wasn’t long ago that Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and Olympic alpine skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin were hanging out on the French Riviera. This past week? It was slime time.
And here’s a flashback to how things wound up so green:
No NHL player wants to be golfing during the playoffs, but, when you win the Stanley Cup, as Olympian T.J. Oshie did this past season, playing golf is all good. Particularly when you’re playing with two of the best U.S.-born players in history.
He spent more than a month on the road covering the World Cup. He took dozens on flights. Traveled tens of thousands of miles. Nearly 10 cities. And when the World Cup came to a close and it was time for some R&R, Olympic soccer player Stu Holden … wound up in a World Cup parade. C’est la vie.
It’s been 3 days and the withdrawals are only getting worse.— Stu Holden (@stuholden) July 18, 2018
Farewell To A Friend
Sad news hit the skating world this week when Denis Ten, an Olympic and world medalist figure skater, died in his native Kazakhstan. Many fellow Olympians shared their thoughts on social media, but few bared more emotion than Team USA’s Alex Shibutani.
.@Tenis_Den was an inspiring athlete, artist, musician, leader, and ambassador. He was brilliant in so many ways, but perhaps his greatest gift was his kindness and the compassion he showed toward others.— Alex Shibutani (@AlexShibutani) July 19, 2018
I’m heartbroken - so devastated. I want everyone to know Denis the way I knew him. Here are some of my fondest memories of my friend, @Tenis_Den.— Alex Shibutani (@AlexShibutani) July 19, 2018
Denis told me he learned English by watching movies and listening to American music. As a joke, he would integrate the chorus from “Yeah” by Usher into our conversations. It was never just one, “Yeah.” It was all of them. He was such a funny guy.— Alex Shibutani (@AlexShibutani) July 19, 2018
.@Tenis_Den was strong, brave, and resilient both on and off the ice. He performed and competed with an energy and intensity that simultaneously blasted out to the corners of the arena while also bringing the audience into the moments he created.— Alex Shibutani (@AlexShibutani) July 19, 2018
If you never had the opportunity to speak or spend time with Denis, this video shows you a glimpse of his thoughtfulness, his wisdom, and his gratitude. https://t.co/Z06Kzjplip— Alex Shibutani (@AlexShibutani) July 19, 2018
Love you, D10. I’m honored and so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet you. Thank you for being my friend. I hope that we meet again someday.— Alex Shibutani (@AlexShibutani) July 19, 2018