Just in case this year wasn’t already exciting enough for Olympic water polo player Tony Azevedo, who is heading to his fifth Games this summer, he is expecting his second child with wife Sara Azevedo just weeks after the Rio event wraps.
While the news is sweet to the parents of son Cruz, who turns 3 on May 20, it also changes their plans for cheering on Tony come August.
“We’ve been planning it forever to have a baby around this time,” Tony exclusively tells Us Weekly. “But now, because of this whole Zika thing, I don’t think Sara is going to be able to go to the Olympics.”
The Zika virus has been spreading around the world since the first confirmed infection in Brazil, and has been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect that causes a baby’s head to be much smaller than normal, according to the CDC.
But even though Sara may not be able to cheer her husband at the Games in person, there is still much to be excited about — such as finding out whether Cruz will be getting a brother or a sister.
“We’re going to find out in two weeks if it’s going to be a boy or a girl. I think it’s going to be a girl, though — and we’re going to call her Luna,” 34-year-old Tony gushed of the baby, due in early October. “I have a little boy, so a little girl would be nice.”
However it took some convincing for Cruz to want a sister.
“He wanted a little brother. And then my sister explained to him that I had a baby sister and took care of her, so now he wants a baby sister,” the Brazilian-born athlete explains. “He’s like, ‘I want a baby sister like you and I’m going to take care of her.’”
Cruz also aspires to grow big and strong like his dad, who won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008.
“One of the ways we get him to go to sleep is that we say, ‘When you sleep, you grow, and if you eat all your food and protein and stuff, you grow.’ So he’s superstoked to eat and he wants to be big like me. He’s like, ‘I’m going to eat all my chicken because I’m going to be big like Dada!’”
While Cruz won’t be able to cheer on his dada in person in Rio de Janeiro, he will be watching on TV.
“We just had the national league and we played in the finals and won. Cruz just played with his Spider-Man the whole time,” Azevedo says. “So it might actually end up being cooler for him to see me on TV! TV is such a cool thing for a kid. And all the sudden, Dada is on TV, it’s like, ‘Whoa, Dada is really cool!’”
Tony will have an advantage in Rio, as he plays professionally for Sesi Polo in São Paulo.
“You go into all these Olympics where it’s a new country, a new city, it’s a totally new environment. I’m basically going to go play at home,” he explains. “The biggest thing is that I love Brazil and I’ll never forget it, and it’ll always be a part of my life. But I’m from America and I’m the captain of the U.S. team, and the only thing I think about is winning for the U.S.”
Hopefully the advantage will pay off in the form of a gold medal.
“Traveling and training as much as we have and sacrificing as much as all the guys on the team have, plus being in the country where I was born, the city where I was born, for my fifth Olympics — it would mean the world to me. The world. I’ll make it happen. No pressure.”
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