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2012 London Olympics Faces to Know: Gymnastics Coach Yin Alvarez

SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 30:  Danell Leyva's coach Yin Alvarez reacts after Leyva competed on the high bar during day 3 of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials at HP Pavilion on June 30, 2012 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Dan PizzutaContributor IIIJuly 26, 2012

A lot of hype has surrounded American gymnast Danell Leyva leading up to the Olympics, but there is another name associated with Leyva that could become just as popular.

That name is Yin Alvarez.

For those unfamiliar, Alvarez is Leyva’s coach and stepfather. Alvarez owns Universal Gymnastics in Miami, FL where he has coached Leyva from beginner to a contender for the Olympic all-around gold medal.

Alvarez isn’t just a master of typical coaching points such as spotting and correcting; he might also be the most colorful coach, not just in gymnastics, but all of the Olympics.

The confidence and enthusiasm pouring out of Alvarez is impossible to ignore, whether you’re meeting him in person or watching on television from your couch.

Watch any routine of Leyva’s and Alvarez will no doubt be off to the side seemingly doing the routine as well. His chanting, hand clapping and celebrating (all over the top, but always genuine) have become famous in gymnastics circles and are sure to catch the hearts of millions watching a father-son duo achieve a dream of Olympic success.


None of this is done just for show. The clapping and yelling and jumping all comes from sincere emotion Alvarez feels during every Leyva routine; he essentially feels what Leyva is feeling.

When Leyva’s grip feels a little off on a parallel bars skill, Alvarez’s grip gets a little tighter. If Leyva is laboring through a high bar routine, Alvarez’s clapping before a dismount is just what Leyva needs for a second burst of energy to finish smoothly.

The hard work of this duo has already been successful internationally as Leyva won the gold medal on parallel bars at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo. Olympic success seems to be right around the corner, and with that could come a new face of gymnastics coaching.


Dan Pizzuta is a former Division I gymnast for Temple University. Follow him on Twitter for more gymnastics coverage during the Olympics @DanPizzuta

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