Miami Herald: From the outside, Universal Gymnastics looks like a clone of the other warehouses on its soulless dead-end drive.
Inside, it’s a three-ring circus. Without safety nets.
Danell Leyva practices his show-stopping routine on the high bar. When he swings off the bar and propels himself three stories into the air, he is flying.
And then, on this particular afternoon, he is crashing. Gravity demands payback.
Leyva misses his catch and plunges into a face-plant on the mat.
He tries again, spinning, releasing, soaring, falling, grazing the bar with his fingertips. Thunk. He sounds like a boxer hitting the canvas.
Once more he rises toward the roof, descends, and his parachute malfunctions. This time, it’s a belly flop.
But on his fourth try, he finds his rhythm. His rotation velocity accelerates. When Leyva performs this spectacle at the London Olympics, spectators will gasp at the daring beauty of it. They always do.
On the ground, another captivating performance takes place. Leyva’s stepfather and coach, Yin Alvarez, is doing the routine simultaneously in his mind. He is bending, hopping, swaying, extending a pointed toe, windmilling his arms. He’s speaking the gymnast’s body language. Through Leyva, his son and protégé, he’s flying, too.
Leyva flips off the bar into his double twisting dismount. His feet spear the mat.
“Yesso!” Alvarez cries in his trademark cheer, a combination of “Yes!” in English and “ Eso!” [That’s it!] in Spanish. Beaming, he runs up to Leyva, high-fives his palm, punches him in the shoulder. “Yesso!”
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