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."
Olympic Day. The closest thing to a holiday dedicated to everything Olympians hold dear — from the results to every last drop of blood, sweat and tears that went into those results. Even the most frustrating of results, or the most disheartening or the saddest. Olympians and Paralympians are indeed a special brand of athlete and their numbers are so few, so elite, so unique. The shared experience at its most elemental level — sacrifice, suffering, heartache, doubt, long odds and the shot at history — deserves a social celebration dedicated to the most taxing and lasting memories of one’s life. The most thoughtful of a thoughtful day on social media …
This split second was one of the most emotional moments of my life. I saw the bar barely leave the pegs on my last attempt at a gold-medal jump, and knew I was walking away with the silver that day. Proud but unsatisfied, that moment has driven me forward 💪🏻 Happy #OlympicDay ! #Olympics #rio2016🇧🇷 #rio #riodejaneiro #brasil #USA #USATF #Nike
Here’s a picture of me at the Olympics for #OlympicDay. I failed on all three attempts in the pole vault. In the days/months/years that followed I learned the value of failure. I learned there’s an easy map to follow if you want to be successful: LOVE is your guide. Love your craft, love your work, love the sacrifice, love the pain, love the endless pursuit of mastery, love others. I fell in love with being better every single day and it has never stopped. For this, I am thankful to have failed on this grand stage.
There are just 120,000 Olympians living within a global population of 7.6 billion. Today is a day to celebrate everything we have achieved and the values we embody as Olympians. Happy #Olympicday to all of my peers out there! pic.twitter.com/IiHwkHfqhP— Jessica Hardy (@swimhardy) June 23, 2018
Happy #olympicday and #paralympicday. I remember my first games in #athens in 2004 like it was yesterday, and have been too overall five games. Who knew my dream would leave to where I am today. The best part of it all was having my sister @hannah_mcfadd by my side since 2012 (her first games) to now. When days are tough or happy there is no one that understands more. This picture was taken at the @london2012paralympics after our 100m final❣️❣️love you MiMi
Happy Olympic Day! I’m so grateful for the amazing things I have been a part of, the incredible people I have met and all of the beautiful places on the planet that I been to, all because of the unity that sports bring to the world. 🌎♥️ . . . #Olympian #bobsled #grateful #keepthepeace @teamusa @usabs #OlympicDay #sports #unite #Olympism
I lived one of my biggest dreams this year. The three weeks I spent in Pyeongchang flew by, but the pride I feel to call myself an Olympian will never be taken away. Beijing, I will see you in 2022! Happy Olympic Day! . . . #olympics #sport #pride #usa #athlete #icedance #skating #dance #olympicday @zachtdonohue @patinagemontrealinternational @usfigureskating @teamusa
Today is Olympic Day - a nostalgic time as I think about my experiences and how the Olympic values positively impacted my life. "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." -- Pierre de Coubertin
A last shout-out to #OlympicDay! I’ve been honored to represent @TeamUSA at the 2008 Beijing @USParalympics and again in Rio in 2016. Leaving lasting moments that have helped define me and my life. Here’s to trying for one last Olympic Day moment in Tokyo 2020! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/oyT2U82mKA— Melissa Stockwell (@MStockwell01) June 24, 2018
I have been competing in the sport of #luge for 17 years. I have competed in three Olympic Games. I I have given my whole life to this sport and by doing this I have sacrificed time with family and friends and have missed out on many ‘normal’ experiences others get to have. That being said, I would do this all again. I have trained with, and get to call some of the greatest athletes friends. I have traveled to many countries, experienced completely different cultures other than my own and know I have plenty of friends and couches to sleep on in many countries. Thank you to everyone who has cheered me on, supported me, and celebrated with me. The Olympic rings bring everyone together for one common goal and I’m so honored to represent #teamUSA today on #OlympicDay and every day.
Back in 2008, Dawn Harper-Nelson, appearing at her first Olympic Games at the age of 24, went out and won gold in the 100-meter hurdles. She’d been a hurdles star since high school and went on to earn All-American honors at UCLA beforehand, and at her second Games, in London, she won silver. Her impact on the sport should not be underestimated, and these days are more precious than ever. To follow up #OlympicDay, her Twitter post fits nicely within the theme.
AND this sums up my feelings about my last race on American soil. ❤️😢You have been good to me and the support of the fans yesterday told me that I did something rt in my career. Nothing but love and gratefulness pour from my heart. 🙏🏾 https://t.co/BtkqbxcGBL— Dawn Harper-Nelson (@DHarp100mH) June 24, 2018
Meanwhile, Olympic luger Matt Mortensen, who last week was honored in his hometown, officially retired — and came up with a beauty of a post that looked back to his earliest days in the sport.
It’s time to hang up the helmet, remove the spikes, and take off the suit. The start of a new journey begins today. Today, I am officially retiring from the sport of Luge. Thank you to everyone that has helped and supported me along the way. I have so many great memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life because of this sport. Thank you all for them. Here are a few from over the years.. please read my full retirement letter posted on Facebook or in the link I have attached to my Instagram profile. . . . . #teamusa #usaluge #armywcap #retirement #retired #retire #party #success #olympics #olympic #motivation #lifestyle #inspiration #goals #travel #retiredlife #respect #athlete #athletes #athletelife #strong #motivation #future #memories #memory #love #missyou #thanks #thankyou #moving #movingon
Mortensen’s partner and former opponent Jayson Terdiman offered his warm wishes …
Well, the news is out. Congratulations @mmortensenusa on an incredible career. I will never be able to thank you enough for the amazing memories we made over these past four years (and before that as teammate/opponents). From relearning how to slide, reaching our first World Cup podium together, becoming World Championship medalists, an overall Bronze crystal globe, setting the final track record in Nagano, and becoming 2x Olympians 🤩 There isn’t much we didn’t accomplish in our short time together. I know your next chapter will be full of successes and I wish you and @alexchitza nothing but the best in your future together. You will be missed my friend, lots of love - Jayson #ImSingleAgain #Divorced 📸 @placidtimesphotography @kevinjairaj @gettyimages
Sneak Peek …
And from the Far East, a happy Olympic Day from 13-time Paralympic gold medalist Jessica Long, who has Tokyo on her mind.
Happy(Para)Olympic Day! I have been in Tokyo this past week doing some filming and they took me to the swimming venue! Still under construction ⚠️ I cannot wait to see how incredible the next Paralympic Games in Tokyo will be 🙋🏼♀️ The people are so kind and welcoming. Now it’s back to the US for me in the morning, so I can get to training and take my best shot at making it back here in 2020! 🇯🇵 • • • • • #tokyo2020 #travellife #swim #tryingtostepupmyhashtaggame #paralympics
Speaking of Long, congratulations are in order for Team USA’s newest author …
Rio Olympic golfer Bubba Watson also had a pretty good week in Connecticut. And so did his son …
Watson managed to sneak in an Olympic Day post, no less …
… And then he went out and won for the third time this year.
Families That Hop Together …
Hard not to notice some similarities in Olympic alpine skier Daron Rahlves’ kids finding some fun at a post office parking lot.
Ski Season? Yes
It’s winter o’clock somewhere. Time for training. In France, for instance …
And Oregon, at Timberline, for some incredibly difficult slalom training …
Seems Olympic alpine skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin remains critical of her results after “18 million years” of practice.
Still remotely on the subject of skiing, Paralympic snowboarding star Amy Purdy is ready for a variation of the theme this summer.
Olympic figure skater Jason Brown is ready for summer, too. Hat and all …
Olympic snowboarding champion Hannah Teter also has the summer thing down on Lake Tahoe.
’Tis also the grass-court season. Wimbledon season. And Alexis Ohanian, who already has a Grand Slam victory to her credit along with Olympic tennis legend Serena Williams, is getting comfortable on the grass.
The odds are now even more stacked against two-time Olympic alpine skiing medalist Andrew Weibrecht and his wife, Denja.
Going Stu Crazy
One of the world’s biggest sporting events, the FIFA World Cup, is underway in Russia, where men’s soccer Olympian Stuart Holden has been putting in the hours as a broadcaster. Perhaps too many hours.
Things didn’t get much better for Holden, either.
One To Grow On …
Pro tip from a pro mom (and Paralympic triathlete) …
Dear husbands: Never tell your wife that you ‘lost’ your 3.5 year old son at the carnival. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Love, your wives— Melissa Stockwell (@MStockwell01) June 24, 2018