2012 Men of the Year: The Olympians – Danell Leyva

‘LLERO: When most immigrants flee their native patrias for the US it’s often to provide better opportunities for their families and children. In the case of Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva, 21, who took home the US Men’s Gymnastics only medal from the 2012 games in London, his parents’ sacrifice would go on to make his family and adopted country proud.

Leyva, who was born in Matanzas, Cuba but raised in Miami, grew up around the mats and gym equipment that would come to define his professional life. His mother Maria Gonzalez and stepfather Yin Alvarez were both members of Cuba’s national gymnastics team and they opened and operated the gym where Leyva would spend his childhood. At just four-years-old Leyva began training for his gymnastics journey. But asthma, ADD and long arms aren’t the stuff that Olympic athletes are typically made of.

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