Danell Leyva, Yin Alvarez
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Yin Alvarez: U.S. gymnastics makes ‘big mistake’ not choosing Danell Leyva

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Danell Leyva‘s stepfather and coach, the excitable Yin Alvarez, was none too pleased that his son was not chosen for the five-man Olympic team Saturday night.

“We don’t know the reason, and we’re a little sad, but they are making a big mistake,” Alvarez said, according to the Miami Herald. “Dani is obviously the only guy who can bring them a medal under pressure. Without him, how are they going to win a team or all-around medal?”

Leyva was the only man competing at the Olympic Trials who owned an Olympic medal, a bronze from the London 2012 all-around.

He was also the only man with a world championships gold medal, from the parallel bars in 2011.

But Leyva struggled mightily at the P&G Championships in Hartford three weeks before Trials, a meet that could weigh just as heavily as Trials in the selection committee’s decision-making process. He placed 16th in the all-around there before improving at Trials to finish 10th overall.

“Danell did his job here [at Trials]; the problem for him was how he did in Hartford,” U.S. men’s gymnastics program vice president Dennis McIntyre said, according to the report.

Leyva competed at P&Gs with his left leg wrapped, about one month after one of his family’s American bulldogs bit him three times.

Leyva’s all-around finish wasn’t as crucial as his performance versus other Americans on his best events — parallel bars and high bar. Chris Brooks, an alternate for the 2012 Olympic team, topped the standings on both to make his first Olympic team at age 29.

“It’s something we have to accept in this sport,” Alvarez said, according to the report. “We wish the best for our team. I told Dani he’s already a world champion and Olympic medalist.”

MORE: Analyzing the U.S. Olympic men’s gymnastics team

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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