“We goof around,” Horton, 26, says of life at London’s Olympic Village.
“We are a very serious team, but at the same time, we’re a bunch of goof balls and I think that’s what keeps us relaxed, what keeps our spirit alive,” he adds.
“We’re here to perform and have a great time, [but] if we take this too [seriously], the stress and pressure and weight of the world will fall on us.”
Horton helps his teammates relax by playing basketball and joking around. “I was hanging out with Ryan Lochte the other day, and Natalie Coughlin. We bought a little basketball hoop and set it up 40 yards away on this hill and every one of us made it from there,” Horton says with a laugh.
While competing in the Games, Horton will be cheered on by his wife – former gymnast Haley DeProspero Horton, who is now enrolled at the University of Texas – parents, sister and sister-in-law.
“Haley leaves me little messages along the way,” Horton reveals. “I don’t know how she does it but before I left she must have snuck little notes all over my clothes and in my bag!”
These little messages include encouraging words as Horton prepares to go head-to-head with the best gymnasts in the world.
“She knows how to keep me feeling good about myself,” Horton says. “The last one I found was in my computer. I opened it and there was an envelope sitting on my keyboard. It was telling me how much she cared about me and not to put too much pressure on myself. She’s awesome.”
The men’s preliminary competition will be televised Saturday night.