Al Roker Raves About Daughter Leila Working in Tokyo for the Olympics: 'She's Always Wanted to Do This'

"She was 3 years old at the Salt Lake Olympics and she really was fascinated by the production runners. She's always wanted to do this," Al Roker tells PEOPLE
Photo: Leila Roker / Instagram

Many of Al Roker's colleagues are away from their loved ones while covering the Tokyo Olympics for NBC. But as his Today co-host Hoda Kotb jokes to PEOPLE, "Al's had the easiest communication with his kids."

Roker, who is reporting on his 13th Olympic Games, tells PEOPLE that this year's trip to Japan has been a special one since his daughter Leila is also in the host country for work.

"My middle girl, Leila, is a production runner for the primetime show on Peacock, and she's always wanted to do this," the father of three, 66, says about his 22-year-old daughter, who graduated from the American University of Paris in May.

"She was three years old at the Salt Lake Olympics [in 2002] and she really was fascinated by the production runners," Roker adds, proudly repeating that Leila has "always wanted to do this."

The meteorologist and 3rd Hour of Today co-anchor also fondly remembers his past Olympic experiences from when Leila was a child. Roker says he and wife Deborah Roberts, who is an ABC News correspondent, took their kids, including son Nick and daughter Courtney, to previous Games as a family.

"Those are some of my fondest memories, bringing my kids to the Olympics and my wife Debra would come," he recalls. "We would have great times. So for the kids, it's really kind of special for them to see this."

Roker is also excited for his Today co-hosts to bring their young children to future Olympic-related work trips. "They're going to have the joy of, for the next Olympics, all their kids will be old enough to come," he says glancing at Kotb, Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin.

Kotb is a mom of two daughters, 4-year-old Haley and 2-year-old Hope, while Guthrie is mom to daughter Vale, 6, and 4-year-old son Charlie. And Melvin is a dad to son Delano, 7, and 4-year-old Sybil.

Kotb, Guthrie and Melvin tell PEOPLE that while on the ground in Tokyo, they've been keeping in touch with their kids back in the States and taking souvenir requests.

"My daughter has asked for anything besides a T-shirt or sandals. She's 4," Melvin says. "She was very specific about that."

Kotb says her oldest child has requested for cookies, specifically. And Guthrie has the hook-up: "I have so many cookies [from a nearby convenience store]," she interjects.

Luckily, for Guthrie, she only has a few "more sleeps" before she's reunited with her kids and husband Michael Feldman.

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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