Alex Naddour couldn’t hold back his tears when he won bronze in the pommel horse finals at the Rio Olympics on Sunday.
The Team U.S.A. gymnast nabbed the bronze in the event with a score of 15.7. The United Kingdom’s Max Whitlock took home the gold with 15.966 (his second gold medal of the day as he took home the top award for the floor exercise just a few hours prior) and Whitlock’s teammate Louis Smith grabbed the silver.
Many fans thought Russia’s Nikolai Kuksenkov would bump out Naddour as he was the last pommel horse competitor, but after he messed up his dismount he shot to sixth place, leaving Naddour clear for the bronze.
Naddour realized after Kuksenkov’s shaky dismount that he was about to win the U.S. men’s gymnastic’s team their first medal in Rio. The father-of-one began crying while waiting for the score with his coaches.
It’s been a long journey to Rio for Naddour. The 25-year-old served as an alternate at the 2012 London Olympics and married world champion gymnast Hollie Vise in 2015. According to NBC, Naddour, who also works as a realtor, had to train for the Olympics while also raising the couple’s newborn daughter, Lilahna. Naddour would reportedly sleep in a separate room away from the newborn so he wouldn’t wake her or his wife up when he went to train in the middle of the night – the only time he had to practice with his full schedule.
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Ahead of the pommel horse finals, Naddour sent a sweet message to his family on Instagram.
“It’s the last day of the Olympic games for me. I am extremely excited for the potential to win a medal for USA. Its an amazing feeling to know that no matter what happens, I already have the most important medal out there.#LILAHNADDOUR #Mylove#Ialreadywoninlife.”
Naddour’s win also marks the first time since 1984 that a Team U.S.A. gymnast has medaled for the pommel horse, one of the most notoriously difficult events in men’s gymnastics.
While on the medal stand, both Smith and Naddour broke out into tears as they took their medals.