After his team’s upsetting fifth place finish on Monday, American gymnast Danell Leyva staged a brilliant comeback in the men’s all-around competition Wednesday to capture a bronze medal for the U.S.
NBC writes that Cuban-born Leyva started strong in the six-event competition, scoring 15.366 (the third highest) on floor, but after dismal 13.500 on the pommel horse, dropped to 17th place out of 24 competitors. Leyva’s teammate, John Orozco also performed poorly on the horse and ended up placed second to last after the first two events.
Nonetheless, both Olympians maintained their composure, particularly Leyva, who rallied to stand sixth going into the final rotation, the high bar.
Down just .733 from medal standing, Leyva posted a 15.7 score on the high bar, which was just enough to earn him the bronze. Orozco finished in eighth.
Leyva’s stepfather and coach Yin Alvarez jumped up and down and screamed after Leyva nailed the event, The Associated Press reported.
“Danell has always been coming from the bottom to the top,” Leyva’s stepfather (and coach) Yin Alvaraz said after the competition. ”He’s done it many, many times in his career since he was a little kid. I think every coach always hopes that you can go up and, even with a mistake, you can finish in the top.”
With his third-place finish, Danell Leyva joins 2004 champion Paul Hamm as the only U.S. men to win Olympic all-around medals since 1984.
“The Olympics is literally something you dream about since you are little,” Leyva said. “Getting a bronze is one of the happiest moments of my life, for now.”