U.S. Gymnast Danell Leyva Wins Bronze In All-Around Comeback
U.S. Olympian, Miami's Danell Leyva, 20, might have gotten off to a rough start at the 2012 London Olympics, when he slipped from the pommel horse in the men's team event on Monday, but he redeemed himself in Wednesday's all-around event with strong performances on the parallel bars and high bar, ultimately securing the bronze medal in the individual event.
While it's been suggested that Leyva has a few things working against him as a gymnast, including a body type that might not be totally ideal for the sport, Leyva's relationship with his personal coach and stepfather, Yin Alvarez, keeps him energized and positive during performance, as the exuberant Alvarez yells encouraging things from the sidelines.
"Everybody thinks it's an embarrassment because he acts so crazy, but it's actually a big help," Leyva said of Alvarez, reports the New York Times. "I love hearing him. I love his energy and passion. I feed off of it. It definitely makes me better."
And better Leyva was, coming in behind Kohei Uchimura from Japan, who won the gold, and Germany's Marcel Nguyen, who nabbed the silver. Leyva's score wasn't stellar to begin with, but his strongest events were last, and he ended up clenching it in the end.
"I'm very happy about getting the bronze especially after coming back from a mess on pommel horse, but I'm not satisfied," Leyva told USA Today. "In 2016 and 2020, I'm looking for gold again."
At the same time, he has nothing but good things to say about gold medalist Uchimura. "If I could speak Japanese, I would tell him he's the greatest gymnast ever, for now. The way he makes gymnastics beautiful is effortless," Leyva said, reports the New York Daily News. "I asked him if he's coming back in 2016 and he said he wasn't sure. I said, 'You better come back.'"
For more on Leyva and the 2012 London Olympics: