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South Florida Olympian Danell Leyva returns home from Rio

Leyva shares excitement of his silver medal in gymnastics

MIAMI – Another South Florida Olympian returned home Wednesday to bask in the glory after a big win in Rio.

Danell Leyva is sharing the excitement of his silver medal in gymnastics with all of his family and friends.

A water canon salute greeted United Flight 132, which brought Leyva home. Waiting with signs and balloons were his family, friends and fans.

"I didn't expect all of this, and of course, I didn't expect them to be waiting at the gate," Leyva said.

Earning two individual silver medals at the Rio Olympics on the horizontal and parallel bars makes him the most decorated member of Team USA's men's gymnastics squad.

It's not bad, considering Leyva made the team as an alternate, able to compete only after a teammate was injured.

His longtime coach and stepdad, Yin Alvarez, runs the southwest Miami-Dade gym Universal Gymnastics, where he trains. Alvarez and Leyva's mom were gymnasts in Cuba, where Leyva was born.

"You could be the best coach, but you have to have the best athlete to get this result," Alvarez said.

On his Instagram, Leyva called Simone Biles his little sister and showed the bond he had with other U.S. gymnasts. He said he is proud to be part of the country's most diverse gymnastics squad ever.

"Laurie Hernandez, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas -- it's huge for representation in this country, especially right now," Leyva said.


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