Leyva’s mother and stepfather were both Cuban national gymnasts, but fled to the United States to find freedom to pursue larger aspirations. For Leyva’s stepfather, Yin Alvarez, that meant opening up a gymnasium. For his mother, Maria Gonzalez, it meant getting treatment for her young son’s chronic asthma.
Despite being, as his family called him, “too chubby,” and prone to asthma attacks in the chalky gym, little Danell Leyva took to his parents’ passion. Alvarez began coaching him, and now, so many years alter, they have gone further than they dared to think possible. Leyva is an Olympian.
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