By Jamie MacDonald | March 10, 2017, 5:11 p.m. (ET)
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.”
International Women’s Day
Considering the remarkable successes of Team USA’s female Olympians and Paralympians, it’s no wonder that International Women’s Day made an impact on so many of the women who have competed for their country at the highest levels of their sports. Beginning with a throwback post on Instagram starring Olympic alpine skiing legend Lindsey Vonn with the owner of two Olympic alpine medals, from 1998 and 1994, Picabo Street, we offer up some of the most inspiring posts from an inspiring day …
— Gevvie Stone (@gevgevs) March 8, 2017
I’m always proud of @maiashibutani. She is my sister, my teammate, and my friend. Maia inspires me every day both on the ice and off with her strength, determination, discipline, wisdom, poise, and thoughtfulness. Maia is capable of achieving anything she puts her mind to and supports others to pursue their dreams with the same passion and commitment. I’m so grateful to our Mom who loves us unconditionally and believes in even our craziest dreams. She has given us a set of values that we strive to follow and has always put our needs before her own. To those women who have been a part of my life so far… who have cared for me, supported me, and taught me – Thank you, and Happy #InternationalWomensDay. 📸: @onexwonder
A post shared by Alex Shibutani (@alexshibutani) on
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 9, 2017
— LA 2024 (@LA2024) March 8, 2017
Thank you to all the amazing women who have paved the way for us. You are my heroes! #InternationalWomensDay
— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) March 8, 2017
On the occasion of four-time Olympian Christie Rampone’s announcement that she would be retiring, Team USA had more than a little fun for “the last of the ’99ers,” a reference to the team that breathed so much life into the women’s soccer movement when it captured this country’s sporting attention on its run to the World Cup finale at the Rose Bowl.
The last of the ’99ers. A #USWNT legend. Our Captain America.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) March 3, 2017
“One last hurrah.”
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) March 5, 2017
Some of the world’s best also offered their heartfelt thoughts.
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) March 4, 2017
— Kelley O’Hara (@kohara19) March 4, 2017
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) March 4, 2017
— Ali Krieger (@alikrieger) March 3, 2017
Team USA had more than a pretty good week at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships this past week in Albuquerque, New Mexico, including a world record in the weight throw, courtesy of hammer throw Olympian Gwen Berry. After all the thrilled reactions from friends and fans alike, not to mention an epic celebration with her peers (more on that below), perhaps the most poignant social post came when Berry took a look at what she had accomplished and thought about all that went into making these headlines — which may never have happened if she’d given in to the temptation of walking away.
You guys just don’t know how many times I wanted to give up
— Gwen Berry (@MzBerryThrows) March 5, 2017
For context, here’s the record-setting throw …
— Josh Freeman (@FreemanThrows70) March 4, 2017
And here’s the payoff …
— Coach Malone (@CoachLMaloneCU) March 5, 2017
All in all, this has been a pretty good 2017 so far for Berry, who was inducted into her alma mater’s hall of fame at Southern Illinois University this past January.
The Other Side Of A Record
Berry wasn’t the only Team USA athlete to set a world record, either. Your Olympic Games champion, 19-year-old Noah Lyles set a world mark in the 300-meter. After setting the record, Lyles also had a nice exchange with the man whose record he broke, two-time Olympian Wallace Spearmon Jr.
Shout out to @PrinceSpearmon for having such a fast record I’m honored to have broken a record set by him.
— Noah Lyles (@LylesNoah) March 5, 2017
Came back home to train & everybody letting me have it bc @LylesNoah broke the 300 record I can’t shake the young fella lol. 19.6 this year?
— wallace spearmon jr (@PrinceSpearmon) March 7, 2017
Congrats man that was a crazy race… couldn’t be happier for you. https://t.co/w1Vo5GRt1E
— wallace spearmon jr (@PrinceSpearmon) March 5, 2017
Wild Blue Yonder
The indoor event also gave 2016 Olympic shot put champion Michelle Carter and pole vault silver medalist Sandi Morris a chance to see a whole lot of the outdoors — from the vantage point of a hot air balloon. Both went on to win their respective events in Albuquerque.
Morris, though, left frustrated … but motivated. Extremely so, which she made abundantly clear in an Instagram post with her eyes on April.
My emotions behind this weekend: Happiness. I won my second USA Indoor title. But at the same time… I feel frustration. This is because I jumped a height good enough to win it, but not a height good enough to satisfy the beast inside me. That’s how I have felt throughout this indoor season. I will be honest.. it can be hard to take a step back and really appreciate a win if you don’t feel like your performance was what you wanted. Bottom line… on that day, I was the best in the field, so I took the gold. Which feels darn awesome to accomplish that when I was feeling off. But… I am hungry for SO much more. This indoor season has been difficult for me because I have had numerous small bumps in the road- small back issue, small ankle issue, small foot issue, the flu, etc. Right when one thing started to feel better, something else bugged me for a week or two. I haven’t felt like myself since I started competing in mid January, but I know this transition to outdoors will be what I need. I feel healthy now and can get in some solid training at home for a couple of months. You can expect me to open my season the end of April, having Drake relays be my first big competition. All I know is I’m motivated. Extremely. Motivated. If the pyramid is weak, it’s because the base needs work! So… I’m gonna go to work! 💪🏻 #USATF #Usa #TeamUSA #strong #nikewomen #nike #niketf #tracknation #trackandfield #trusttheprocess #grind #work #polevault #fitness #fitnessmotivation #fitgirls #dreamchaser
A post shared by Sandi Morris🇺🇸 (@sandicheekspv) on
Look out, world.
Mission: Accomplished, The Powder Edition
For a little 2018 Olympic Winter Games skiing hill preview, let Olympic alpine skier Travis Ganong show you the way. Yes, it snows, and, yes, there can be powder. Not that you’d know it from the audio …
Wondering how Team USA’s skiers pass the downtime while on the road? In the case of Mark Engel, already a musician in his spare time, it means laying down hooky beats in Slovenia, much to the “delight” of roommate AJ Ginnis.
Meanwhile, In Kauai …
Two-time Olympic champion alpine skier Ted Ligety, who is recovering from back surgery, traded Utah’s snow for Hawaii’s beaches …
It should be noted that Ginnis approved, chiming in with, “Second like!”
Defending Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is in the midst of a most excellent ride. She’s due to give birth to her first child in August.
Love morning dates even when they put me in a food coma. Today consisted of waking up, eating, and napping 😖Baby must need some rest https://t.co/LgJ2iOkzaN
— gwen jorgensen (@gwenjorgensen) March 5, 2017
@gwenjorgensen sounds like the best day.
— Erin Storie (@ErinStorie) March 5, 2017
Scandinavian breakfast in PDX pic.twitter.com/Dbqj8tz636
— Pat Lemieux (@patlemieux) March 5, 2017
Speaking of being due in August …
… Two-time Paralympian, bronze medalist and Purple Heart recipient Melissa Stockwell is also due in August, and she’s nearing the halfway point of her pregnancy while skiing in Vail, Colorado.
— Melissa Stockwell (@MStockwell01) March 5, 2017
Both Stockwell and Jorgensen are, however, suffering side effects …
— Melissa Stockwell (@MStockwell01) March 7, 2017
I was losing my big toe nail and was confused why until I realized my feet swelled (due to pregnancy). My feet are now a full size larger.
— gwen jorgensen (@gwenjorgensen) March 5, 2017
Beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings has all the makings of a budding family band. We found out recently that her family recently completed 365 days with, in the pursuit of happiness, heavy limitations on tech, which may in large part be responsible for a couple of priceless moments — one captured in a still frame and the other part of a video where one son sweetly plucks out a one-string “Happy Birthday” while the other finds out that strings, at first, may not be so comfortable:
A post shared by Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) on
Steps In The Right Direction
Checking in on the recovery from severe injury comes freighted with slivers of some of the same emotions athletes are showing us through their posts — the easy times and the hard times. For two-time high jump Olympian Jamie Nieto, it had been a month since his previous Instagram post helping give us a look into his recovery from an accident that left him paralyzed.
Rest And Recovery
Blood clots kept one of the world’s best wheelchair sprinter/middle distance/marathoner stars, Tatyana McFadden, from participating in Tokyo, but she will be back …
No big deal, right? Just someone launching herself off an octogenarian ski jump that not only hadn’t hosted a jump in more than 30 years, but also had taken months to rebuild after years of neglect. Thankfully, the task was in good hands with Sarah Hendrickson, the 2014 Olympic ski jumper and 2018 hopeful who has returned to world-class form after a series of knee injuries.
Just flying off a hill built in 1932… How was your Saturday? pic.twitter.com/qvRT1qlZq3
— Sarah Hendrickson (@schendrickson) March 5, 2017
Once the world’s largest ski jump, the New Hampshire landmark lands back in the news thanks to Hendrickson, whose parents grew up in the state.