Olympic Gymnastics 2012: Why Danell Leyva Is No Longer the All-Around Favorite
After all of the men’s gymnastics preliminary competitions on Saturday, it seemed like Danell Leyva was the man. He finished on top of the all-around standings and, as someone who has proven himself as a strong international competitor, who could stop him?
All-around superstar Kohei Uchimura looked completely off his game—he finished ninth in the all-around standings. Great Britain star Thomas Kristian was down in fifth, and his teammate Daniel Purvis placed tenth. Even Leyva’s own teammate John Orozco didn’t seem that amazing, taking fourth.
If we learned anything from the men’s team finals, it is that the preliminary results mean nothing. Throw them out the window, burn them or flush them down the toilet. I don’t really care what you do with them, just don’t use them to predict who is going to win the all-around gold medal.
After watching the men’s team finals on Monday, it is safe to say that Leyva is not the all-around favorite. I’m not even sure if he or Orozco is going to medal.
All Monday’s competition really proved is that the American team still has a lot of work to do in men’s gymnastics and that it is just not at the level of the international powerhouses.
Kohei Uchimura reclaimed his spot as the all-around favorite. That man is unbeatable when it counts. He is the three-time reigning world champion—the first male gymnast to ever accomplish that feat. Sure, he didn’t do so great on Saturday but everybody was raving about how uncharacteristic that was of him.
Then Uchimura basically carried Japan to the podium, acting like it was a one-man feat—especially when all the drama on pommel horse brought Japan back into silver. Yes, it was Uchimura’s mistake that left Japan off the stand, but in the end, his routine put the Japanese back on.
After all this drama, he is not letting anything go wrong in the all-around finals.
You can’t forget Russia’s David Belyavskiy and Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen, who will be waiting to mop up the floor after any of Uchimura’s mistakes, if he makes any.
Then there’s Leyva’s teammate, Orozco, who has been having a sub-par performance at the Olympics. The poor guy looked like he was going to start bawling after he missed his vault in the team finals. Him and Leyva have been neck-and-neck all summer, and he is going to channel all of his frustrations into the all-around finals. You better watch out for Orozco, that’s for sure, as he is a solid performer on all four events.
There’s also the Great Britain duo of Kristian Thomas and Daniel Purvis. Now that they have finally experienced the taste of an Olympic medal, they are going to be back for more—addicted to winning just like toddlers are to candy.
Leyva just doesn’t have what it takes to win the all-around gold.
He isn’t strong enough on pommel horse, where he fell on Monday, he falters too much on floor and he just doesn’t have enough difficulty on rings and vault. Really, his only huge strengths are on bars, and he hasn’t even been doing the greatest there.
It will be a huge surprise to everyone, especially myself, if Leyva comes out with the all-around gold.
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