American Biathlete Might Miss The Birth Of His First Child To Compete In The Olympics

leif nordgren wife baby due opening ceremony winter games
(Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images Europe)

Leif Nordgren is competing in his third and final Winter Games, but is also excited to get back to the States and be with his pregnant wife, who is due any day

February 4 was an intense day for American biathlete Leif Nordgren, to say the least. That Friday wasn’t only the day of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony — it was also his wife’s due date for their first child. The 32-year-old athlete, who is married to NBC meteorologist Caitlin Napoleoni, has competed in the Games in the past, in both the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

The 2022 Winter Games will be his last run in the Olympics. In addition to controversy surrounding host country China’s human right violations and the ongoing pandemic, the fact that, you know, his wife is bringing their first child into the world at the exact same time, made this a difficult decision for the biathlete.

“When my wife and I found out in June, basically when the due date would be, she was very supportive right away because we knew this was going to be my last Olympics,” Nordgren told Boston.com. Napoleoni has been supportive of her hubby’s Olympic ambitions throughout their relationship, but while expecting her first child? Someone give her a damn medal!

Nordgren has his phone with him 24/7 in case his wife goes into labor while he is in Beijing

“Basically, I have my phone on me wherever I go,” Nordgren said. Despite the 13-hour time difference between Beijing and Nordgren’s hometown of Burlington, Vermont, Nordgren says he’s ready to pick up the call, anytime.

“I, of course, want him to be there for the delivery. It’s a process that takes a team,” Napoleoni said in a segment with her NBC affiliate station. “But I have to think of him too. He’s missing it as well, so we’re both sacrificing a lot for this. Not only for the baby but for the Olympics as well.” Okay, we stand corrected: give this woman a million medals for her level of support.

Before heading to Italy, where he and teammates trained and isolated before arrriving in Beijing, Nordgren expressed his excitement for the Games, saying “I am definitely excited to go to China and race. At the same time, I am even more excited, I think, to get the Olympics over with and finally go home and meet the new little one.”

“Twelve years of my life going after this athletic dream, but the whole family and baby thing really puts things in perspective,” he added.