Feedback
News

Danell Leyva Wins 1st Olympic Parallel Bars Medal for USA in 20 Years

Danell Leyva won a a silver medal on the parallel bars in men's artistic gymnastics, snagging the first medal on the event for Team USA since 1996.

Leyva, 24, was born in Cárdenas, Cuba and moved to the United States with his family when he was a young boy.

According to NBC Sports, Leyva was looking for some redemption of his own. After flat performances at the two U.S. Olympic selection events, Leyva saw himself attending the Olympics as an alternate athlete.

US gymnast Danell Leyva celebrates final of the Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
US gymnast Danell Leyva celebrates on the podium of the men's parallel bars event final of the Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016 Toshifumi KITAMURA / AFP/Getty Images

An alternate's job is to be ready on call for any of your teammates if they get hurt. Lucky for Leyva, but unfortunate for his teammate John Orozco who suffered an injury in training, Leyva was able to get out on the mats as a competing athlete.

RELATED: 10 Latino U.S. Athletes We'll Be Watching at the Rio Olympics

Although the decision was surprising, Leyva was in fact the only U.S. male gymnast to win a medal at the London Olympics — bronze in the all-around — and had collected multiple world championship medals in the last few years.

Proving his worth to the team, Leyva showed he belonged on team USA after all. His near-flawless routine finished with a strong landing which earned him a score of 15.900 to win the prestigious silver medal.

The Cuban-American gymnast was the 2011 U.S national all-around gold medalist and the 2011 world champion on the parallel bars.

Follow NBC Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.