Leigh Ann Caldwell, NBC's newest Capitol correspondent, opens up on her family — and Olympic-sized dreams
© Frank Thorp, NBC News

She’s wanted to be a journalist since she was a kid and is currently leading NBC News’s coverage of Tuesday’s special election in North Carolina’s 9th District, but Leigh Ann Caldwell says she’d like to cover other kinds of heated competition, too.

“I decided when I was 10 years old when I was watching the summer Olympics I wanted to be Bob Costas,” Caldwell tells ITK.

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“I ended up choosing political journalism over sports, but I’d still like to cover the Olympics someday,” says NBC News’s newest correspondent covering Capitol Hill.

“The problem, however, is that the Olympics are also election years,” adds Caldwell, 41.

When she’s not hitting the road or the halls of Congress for work, the mom of two says there’s no place she’d rather be than with her 4- and 6-year-old kiddos.

We wanted to know more about the journalism pro — who can also sun salutation with the best of them as a yoga instructor — so we asked her these questions.

Grew up in:
Fabulous Las Vegas

College attended:
North Carolina State University

Favorite hobby/activity:
Cooking at home with a bunch of family and friends. It can be my house or theirs.

After work, you’ll find me:
After work? There really is no “after” work. But when I have left the Hill for the day, you’ll find me spending as much quality time with my husband and kids as possible. 

Favorite/most hated food:
Too easy. I only hate six foods: carrots, celery, licorice, doughnuts, beef and cherry-flavored everything (except real cherries).

My favorite food is pretty much everything else.  

Most memorable moment: 
One of my most memorable moments professionally over the past few years was the night of the pivotal Senate vote to overturn ObamaCare. 

It was around dinner time when Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Biden's debate performance renews questions of health At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR MORE (R-Ariz.), who had just a couple days prior returned after being diagnosed with brain cancer, and of course just hours before he cast the vote that saved the Affordable Care Act, walked by me while I was FaceTiming with my children.

He stopped to talk to them, asking them their names and making silly faces to get them to laugh. Apparently in a reflective mood, he told me to never stop taking pictures of my children because their childhood goes by too quickly. 

I think about his advice at least once a week and make sure I follow it. 

Favorite band:
I love all kinds of music, from bluegrass to opera to pop, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. But I’d have to say The Lumineers. Their first album was my soundtrack during an instrumental time in my life and so it always reminds me to embrace challenges and celebrate the good.

I’m happiest when:
I’m with my children. Nothing brings more joy to my life than my kids.

What you like about D.C.:
My friends. I also love that there is always something new (to me) to explore in the area. A new hiking trail. A new exhibit at a museum. A new restaurant.

If I had a theme song, it would be:
"Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)" by Kelly Clarkson

Something that few know about you:
I was a Division 1 distance swimmer. I’m also a certified yoga instructor. 

Favorite movie:
I don’t watch many movies but I do watch everything my sister-in-law [Caroline Jaczko] produces. 

Best advice given:
Trust yourself.