Danell Leyva, Miami's Cuban-American Olympic Prodigy, Goes for Gold | Feature | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Danell Leyva, Miami's Cuban-American Olympic Prodigy, Goes for Gold

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"In the past, it was nearly impossible to get an endorsement deal when you've never been to the Olympics," says Horton, the 2008 vet joining Leyva in London. "I didn't have a single sponsor until about a year ago."

The media interest in the Cuban-American sensation has peaked early as well. On July 20, American Idol personality, TV producer, and nationally syndicated radio host Ryan Seacrest spent a day with Alvarez and Leyva in Miami. Seacrest is doing a piece about Leyva for NBC Sports' Olympic coverage. Leyva has also been a guest on morning talk shows on Univision and Telemundo.

But as he leaves for England, Leyva has only one thing on his mind.

"After the team gets gold, I want to get all-around gold, P-bars gold, and then at least a silver on high bar," Leyva says. "It's a huge honor that I'm representing the United States in the 2012 Olympics, being born in Cuba. I have so much gratitude, and I feel so privileged to say that."

A journalist has one last question for the gymnast, though: Who's more excited about London, him or his stepdad?

"C'mon, is that really a question?" Leyva says with a laugh. "I'm very excited — but not nearly as excited as Yin."

Damin Esper contributed reporting to this article.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.

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