"She can watch me from the television screen," Alex Naddour, 25, tells PEOPLE

By Rose Minutaglio
August 03, 2016 08:40 PM
Richard Phibbs

Alex Naddour of the U.S. men’s gymnastics team says his wife and newborn baby will not be joining him in Rio for the Olympics over Zika concerns.

“It’s just one less thing for me to worry about,” Naddour, an Olympic veteran, told PEOPLE regarding his daughter, Lilah.

The Olympian, who was an alternate for Team USA at the 2012 London Games, says his “awesome” 6-month-old daughter with former University of Oklahoma gymnast Hollie Vise will have to be his good luck charm from afar.

“She can watch me from the television screen,” said Naddour, 25.

Little Lilah might be far away during the competition, but she’s never far from his mind.

“She makes me smile. I could have a horrible day in the gym and I come home and she’s so cute!” he said. “She’ll look at me in the eyes and smile.”

Naddour says he and Vise won’t pressure their daughter to try gymnastics when she’s older, but will encourage her to “pursue whatever passion she wants.”

For more of PEOPLE’s Olympic coverage, pick up our collector’s edition, The Best of the Games, on sale now.

“I’d actually love to see her do golf,” says Naddour. “[Gymnastics] is a lot of work, but my family owns three gyms now so she will probably grow up in a gym.”

Joining Naddour on the men’s Olympic team is close friend Jake Dalton, captain Chris Brooks and Olympic veterans Sam Mikulak and Danell Leyva.

“We’re all such good friends and have grown up together,” says Naddour. “Jake and I have been friends since we were 7. We grew up together as little juniors, doing regionals, and then juniors and senior nationals. Then onto marriages and now I’m a dad!”

To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org. The Rio Olympics begin Aug. 5 on NBC.

Advertisement


EDIT POST