By Mark Trevelyan
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – American Danell Leyva, originally a substitute for the men’s gymnastic team, was jubilant after winning two silver medals on Tuesday, including in one event where he had suffered a crash landing last week.
Leyva began his afternoon’s work with the parallel bars and completed it with the horizontal bar, from which he had fallen during last week’s men’s team final.
“This was absolutely a redemption, not only for me but for the team as well. My success is as much for the team as it is for me,” he said.
Leyva had not been expecting to compete in Rio, but gained his place because of a knee injury to John Orozco.
He is coached by his ebullient step-father Yin Alvarez, who skipped with elation after watching him win his second medal of the day.
“Super-happy. As a coach, (I’m) very happy, my job is done. And his job is amazing. And as a father, what can I say?” Alvarez said.
The horizontal bar was won by Fabian Hambuechen of Germany and the parallel bars by Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev, whom Leyva warmly embraced after the contest.
“He’s like my brother, man. We’ve known each other for a long time. We’re super-close and it’s incredibly humbling to see each other have success like that. I was incredibly happy. He deserved that medal more than anything,” the American said.
In the second event, the climax of the artistic gymnastics program in Rio, Leyva performed last after enduring a nerve-wracking wait.
“It couldn’t have been more perfect. It is kind of an honor to know that my routine was the one that closed out the Olympics and I did it with a routine like that and I’m incredibly happy,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for more.”
(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan and Pritha Sarkar, editing by Jan Harvey)