15 Things You Need to Know About Danell Leyva, Olympic Gymnast

Everything you ever wanted to know about U.S. Olympic Gymnast Danell Leyva, who just won a bronze medal in the all-around competition at the London Olympics.

He’s from Cuba.
He came to the United States as a child with his mother and sister, via Peru and Venezuela. His grandfather was instrumental in making the arrangements, and his mother remains very protective of her son.

He believes in the power of positive thinking.
His motto is “ I am going to” instead of “I want to.”

He likes cars.
Danell drives a black Camaro that he keeps meticulously clean.

His sister is kinda famous.
Dayanis Mesa, 10 years his senior, is a Spanish-language television host.

He digs Drake.
Danell loves the music of Drake and would like to meet him someday. In general he’s is a big fan of R&B rap.

He hasn’t met his dad.
Dannel has yet to meet his father, Johan Leyva. They speak regularly on the phone.

He’s a Twitter diva.
Dannel loves to post pictures of himself on Twitter, sometimes more-than-half-naked:

Danell Leyva bronze twitter

He’s been doing this a long time.
Danell was first introduced to gymnastics when he was 4.

He’s self-taught.
Danell was homeschooled since the second grade and taught himself since the seventh grade.

He hates his feet.
Danell passionately dislikes his flat feet. “They are so flat that I actually have a bone that kind of sticks out on the inside. When a regular person makes a footprint, you see his toe, a bit of the outside and the heel. When I make a footprint, you see my whole foot.”

He likes spiders.
He has a tarantula. Her name is Rosie. And Spider Man is his favorite comic.

Chan is his man.
The Rush Hour movies are among his favorite films.

His stepdad is boss.
Danell is coached by his stepfather, Yin Alvarez.

He was a sickly kid.
Leyva was an asthmatic baby and left for America at 4 so he could have access to medicine and treatment.

He’s bashful.
Danell considers himself shy and wants to make people laugh. His sister and mother are his two favorite people in the world.

The gays love him.
Danell is super popular with the gay community and is known to many as the “hot Cuban gymnast.” Queerty magazine recently featured him.

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