Danell Leyva‘s mom called him one day in February with alarming news.
“Somebody said that they found your bag with your medals,” Maria Gonzalez told him.
Leyva panicked. He didn’t know his medals — he owns six from the Olympics and World Championships alone — were missing.
“I was like, woah, woah, woah,” the Olympic all-around bronze medalist recalled Friday. “I immediately went to my car, and I popped the trunk [where I kept the medals]. There was nothing in it. I was like, noooooo!”
Leyva said his car had shown no signs of a break-in, but he also doesn’t leave it unlocked. He guessed the medals were gone for one day before somebody found the bag on a bus in South Florida and contacted his mom.
“I have no idea how that happened,” Leyva said. “At least we got the medals, because everything else is replaceable.”
The stolen items included his trademark lucky towel, blue with stars, that he cocooned within at every gymnastics meet since 2007, including the London Games. The towel has a Twitter account and Facebook page.
Leyva accepted it and decide to move on … to a new towel.
Leyva wrapped himself in a purple towel at the P&G Championships in Hartford, Conn., over the weekend, where he finished a disappointing 16th in the all-around. His Rio Olympic hopes are in jeopardy.
Towel 2.0 was designed by Leyva, his mother and his girlfriend with a galaxy theme of planets and stars.