No stranger to the Olympics and international competition, Leyva – who migrated to the US from Cuba at just two years old when his parents defected– is an integral part of this year’s contingent. His solid performance in 2012 earned him a bronze medal in the Men’s All Around (individual) and similarly in the team category. A powerfully strong specimen, the 24-year old Leyva excels in the events of horizontal (high) bar, parallel bars and floor exercise. In 2011 he was the national all-around gold medalist and the world champion on the parallel bars. He also became the youngest member in 2009 to join the US National Senior team at the age of 17. With gymnastics running in the family, Leyva took up the sport at age four and has been under the tutelage of his stepfather and current coach – Yin Alvarez – and his mother – Maria Gonzalez – both of whom were members of Cuba’s national team.
Other Latino athletes deserving of honorable mention and recognition for making the team are:
Nico Hernandez – Boxing
Angélica Delgado – Judo
Pedro Pascual – Sailing
Anita Alvarez – Synchronized Swimming
Steven Lopez – Tae Kwon Do
Brenda Martinez – Track and Field