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."
Worth Thousands Of Words
Melissa Stockwell, mother of two. Two-time Paralympian. Paratriathlon world champion. Her son is still young enough to ride with an extra pair of wheels. But he’s old enough to make the trip that much more memorable for the mother and U.S. Army veteran with the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. So many pictures are worth so many words, and there are so many stories in this singular slice of a remarkable life.
So, you say you want to be one of the best swimmers in the world, eh? How committed are you? As Team USA's national championships, part of the Team USA Summer Champions Series, presented by Xfinity, roll on in Irvine, California, it certainly wasn’t easy earning a spot to compete against the deepest swimming talent in the world.
Thanks John! Far from having it all figured out... If you want to change roles for the day enjoy the 445am wake up call for a visit to the cold pool! I’ll fill in at your office so I can dig up more old pictures of @UGACoachBauerle https://t.co/ZSNimgMzNA— Chase Kalisz (@chasekalisz) July 23, 2018
Let’s not forget the other #swimmerprobs.
Blake only cut me 3 times... my turn pic.twitter.com/F3EBrLJITD— Cody Miller (@swimiller) July 25, 2018
Success is shaving and not cutting yourself. #swimmerprobs— Simone Manuel (@simone_manuel) July 25, 2018
On a side note, one of the world’s fastest sprinters has the perfect, if unusual, “pets” to remind her to slow down:
Happy 2 months to my pet snails, Shaka and Zulu. You two have truly kept life interesting. From trying to get out of your Glad container to snacking on your favorite food (carrots... only because it’s the only food I ever feed you) to just reminding me to sit and slow down by waiting for you to come out of your shell and move your body in calming ripples and waves... you truly have taught me a lot, and your presence is extremely soothing. You’re my real slime!! 🐌
Taking The Plunge
With no snow in sight, Olympic champion snowboarder Jamie Anderson still knows how to wow in the air.
Olympic cross-country skiing champion Jessie Diggins, on the other hand, is used to keeping her skis on the ground. But she’s clearly conquered any fear of heights.
And then there’s Olympic alpine legend Lindsey Vonn. In her case, the degree of difficulty came from her underwater company. Happy Shark Week, y’all.
From Swimming With Sharks To …
On a night out this past week, Vonn managed to find a more convivial crowd, crushing some cotton candy and knocking out a boisterous rendition of a song she very likely has belted out before.
You Can Go Home Again
The most famous product of Pineview Park BMX, Olympic silver medalist Alise Post Willoughby, who is married to Aussie BMX Olympic silver medalist Sam Willoughby, made it back to the St. Cloud, Minnesota, track her father helped launch two decades ago. Olympic stories take so many turns, and so many of the best ones end up back at home — if only for a quick trip.
So fun to go back to my roots and FINALLY race on the track where it all started!🌲🚴🏻♀️🌲 Nothing sweeter than victory in front of the home crowd! 🤗 thanks for all of the love and support everybody❤️ and don’t forget, there’s going to be two scheduled autograph signings this weekend during the @ircbike_official #siren launch on Saturday @1230pm followed by another autograph signing on Sunday starting at 10am with @kleanathlete (whose also got a killer #hydration set up!! Hope to see you at the track‼️
It was a super fun and successful trip with all of the local love shown in St. Cloud‼️ Always bittersweet hopping on a plane to the next spot from here, but we’re definitely ready to see our little fur baby again!!🐕😍 Thank you to all of my Minnesota friends, family and supporters for showing us so much love these past two weeks, I’ll always be #MinnesotaProud and it was an honor competing on the big stage in front of you all❤️😊 // Photo @stevediamondelements // #landolakes #minnesotanice #lakelife #pineviewparkbmx #olympics #bmx
Women Of The Year
When almost all of the candidates for the honor of Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation, the same organization to which Elana Meyers Taylor was recently named president-elect, don the red, white and blue, it’s a pretty good year for Team USA. Upon the news of the announcement — and, yes, voting is now open — many of Team USA’s candidates, because it’s 2018, took to social media …
🙈😬WOW! What an incredible group of women - I feel honored to be nominated alongside @jessdiggs, @kikkanimal, @ChloeKim, @OksanaMasters, @bren_hucks and more! Make sure to vote! #TeamUSA https://t.co/5q8pHFIakR— Mikaela Shiffrin (@MikaelaShiffrin) July 23, 2018
Hey everyone I am a finalist for The sports woman of the year @WomensSportsFdn click the link and vote for me https://t.co/umH4X1Xs5i must vote all 3 categories then add email and zipcode then press submit! pic.twitter.com/Wk7mHzW8Z5— ClaressaT-rexShields (@Claressashields) July 23, 2018
Im blown away to wake up this morning & find out I’m a finalist for @WomensSportsFdn Sportswoman of the Year! #SOY2018 show your support by sharing my hashtag #VoteOksana Voting is LIVE! Help make me the next https://t.co/C2lajXgOhJ 🙆🏻♀️ thank you @WomensSportsFdn 🙏🏼💃🏼 pic.twitter.com/UQefpgwxfQ— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) July 23, 2018
This year has been full of blessings. I can not believe I have been nominated next to such outstanding, strong, confident, badass women. Show your love to these power houses by voting now until August 3! https://t.co/dtWztmJQzD— Brenna Huckaby (@bren_hucks) July 23, 2018
If we’ve learned anything over these past few years, it’s that if you’re invited to one particular awards show, you’re going to have to go green. The show has already made its debut, but a few Olympians’ posts made it out this past week, and they’re too good not to share.
On The Road Again
Congratulations are in order for Team USA’s newest published author, Olympic fencing bronze medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, who after the slime time, has taken the show on the road.
HAPPY BOOK LAUNCH DAY! I’m so excited to announce my book PROUD is officially available for purchase!! 🦄⚡️ Hope to see you all tonight @strandbookstore NYC at 7PM for my first book signing! 🤺 #PROUDbook #BlackGirlMagic pic.twitter.com/6Fhk61myP4— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) July 24, 2018
Faizah joined me for a full day of interviews for my new book PROUD! See what we were up to in the IG story 🙃 We’re headed to my book signing at @wordsbookstore in Maplewood, NJ. Don’t worry about having a ticket! I’m signing books and taking pics with everyone! See you at 8:15PM 💗⚡️🤺🦄 #PROUDbook Tour Day Deux
PROUD Book Tour CHICAGO is finally here! Catch me in conversation with Naija queen and author @luvvie tonight @andersonsbookshop in Naperville, IL. Things kick off at 7PM! ⚡️ I’m signing books and taking pics with everyone, so be sure to stop by and say hello 💋 Good news.. if you can’t make it out to one of my book tour events, you can still get a signed copy of PROUD from Barnes and Noble (link in bio) 🤺🦄💗 🇺🇸 #PROUDbook
And, yes, the tour continues into August.
What You Can Do …
Hangtime: Who wore it better?
Team USA Teamwork
In a heartwarming show of spirit, when 2016 Olympian Courtney Frerichs went out and set an American steeplechase record this past week, and was followed in fourth by Emma Coburn, who won bronze in the steeplechase at the Rio Games, Team USA came out in full support for all these successes.
The track was 🔥 tonight at the @MeetingHerculis 🤗 still in shock over setting the AMERICAN RECORD! 🇺🇸 thank you for all the kind messages, it takes a village! The season isn’t done yet though, time to head home and refocus for the DL final and keep going after sub-9! pic.twitter.com/qOt0lK9cg7— Courtney Frerichs (@courtfrerichs8) July 21, 2018
Thank you Emma ❤️ excited for another battle in Brussels and hopefully sub-9 for both of us!— Courtney Frerichs (@courtfrerichs8) July 21, 2018
Thanks Molly 💕— emma coburn (@emmajcoburn) July 21, 2018
❤️❤️❤️— Courtney Frerichs (@courtfrerichs8) July 21, 2018
Thank you Kara! 🤗❤️— Courtney Frerichs (@courtfrerichs8) July 21, 2018
Thanks Kara 😘 see you soon!— emma coburn (@emmajcoburn) July 21, 2018
I am privileged to work and train alongside some incredible people that I also get to call my best friends. So proud of them regardless of outcomes. But happy we get to celebrate 🎉 big moments like this!!!— Shalane Flanagan (@ShalaneFlanagan) July 21, 2018
And then fellow Olympian Shelby Houlihan goes out and sets an American record in the 5,000-meter.
It’s moments like these that make those countless hours of hard work and many sacrifices worth it. Leaving Europe with my first American Record in the 5000m and a big PR!! Shoutout to @shalaneflanagan and @corymcgeeruns for the pacing help. You two were awesome💪🏼 The season isn’t over and I’m heading back to the US tomorrow to put in some more work and eat some more French bread😉🥖 📸: @haasruns
American Record!!!!!! I can’t get over this lady and all the #bowermanbabes (and #bowermanbros ) just crushing!!! Sooo soo happy!! This is my favorite pic with this amazing lady, and I have felt these same happy feels and emotions watching my teammates just continue to raise the bar!! . . . #greatness #americanrecord #amazed #toughness #grit #talent #hardwork #inspiration #nikerunning #nikewomen
And on Monday? Frerichs was ready to move on to Brussels.
Woke up to see the perfect #mondaymotivation as I start the next block of training for the #BrusselsDL 🤗 thank you @ila66 for capturing this moment so perfectly! ❤️🏃🏼♀️ #roadtothefinal #b⚡️tc #nikerunning #justdoit pic.twitter.com/QKSrpxkZXH— Courtney Frerichs (@courtfrerichs8) July 23, 2018
Perhaps there will come a day when Texas-born, 6-foot-1, 185-pound, 19-year-old Weston McKennie needs no introduction at all.
And a bit more from McKennie …
Not His First Rodeo?
Leave it to a bobsledding Olympian to take to rodeo life. Born in Los Gatos, California, Nick Cunningham dressed the part and fully enjoyed Caliornia’s largest rodeo.
Another great year around the @CaliforniaRodeo roping chutes is in the books. Saw old friends and made a bunch of new ones. Already excited for 2019! #AroundSalinas #Rodeo #volunteer #ItsNotWorkWhenYouLoveIt pic.twitter.com/VFnXFzSp3m— Nick Cunningham, OLY (@BOBSLEDR) July 23, 2018
Few towns in the country are as tied to a sport as Warroad, Minnesota, is to hockey. So, when the Stanley Cup makes it back through town with Warroad native T.J. Oshie, it’s a natural to find another Olympian in Warroad native Gigi Marvin, a 2018 gold medalist, to add to the event.
Hitting The Pavement
Four-time Olympian and 2014 bronze medalist, not to mention self-proclaimed yoga enthusiast, Erin Hamlin, who competes of the great gravity sports of luge, will be trying her hand this fall at the grueling self-propelled event of marathon. Tick, tock … the first Sunday in November is approaching.
My “runs” look [& feel] much different these days!! I’m proud & excited to be running @nycmarathon for #TeamWSF! Please consider donating to support grls & women in sport while I take on my new challenging adventure! https://t.co/nskGkyGo42 #TCSNYCMarathon #WomensSportsFoundation pic.twitter.com/LUD0lUCSYG— Erin Hamlin (@erinhamlin) July 19, 2018
No matter what preamble goes into the speech that leads to this sort of life-changing moment, there’s only one word that matters afterward. And 2016 Olympic sprinter Marvin Bracy heard it.
But he wasn’t alone this past week …
In the heads of so many, the clock is ticking. Destination: Tokyo. And though two years out, that countdown is always on the minds of Team USA athletes.
I can not wait!!!! Actually, I can .... I’ll use every single day to fuel my heart, body and soul in preparation 2b the best I’ve ever been for the @Tokyo2020 Games repping @TeamUSA & our beautiful 🇺🇸 to the best of my ability. The vision is set, the details & the way will come https://t.co/wuehs89BQn— Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) July 24, 2018
Two years til Tokyo!! Alix and I are working our hardest every day- mentally, physically, emotionally, and every other “ally” possible- to get there!! But what I’m most stoked on is how much I’m enjoying this journey so far and I’m so excited for the rest of it! Thank you to everyone who supported me through London and Rio and are still here for it! ❤️🙌🏼❤️🙌🏼❤️🙌🏼 #Tokyo2020 #Olympics #TwoYearsToGo
2 YEARS OUT FROM 2020 TOKYO OLYMPICS— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 24, 2018
2 years til the big dance. I'm trying to be there!!!!#Tokyo2020— Richard Browne Jr (@winged_foot) July 24, 2018
We’re here in LA today to celebrate the countdown to the next Olympics and get our country excited about the Olympic Games— Ashleigh Johnson (@theAshJohnson) July 25, 2018
and the athletes of Team USA. We’ll be celebrating with local kids and fans, and sharing our stories as we work hard to makethe team. #TokyoOlympics @TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/bHhxVlAQB9
And just as the horizon is on the minds of Team USA’s hopefuls and probables, Summer Sanders speaks for all Olympians and Paralympians.