USA men’s medal winner Leyva says he was “emulating” Biles’ persona

Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images
1 Comment

United States gymnast Danell Leyva was motivated by a little sparkplug five years younger than him.

Leyva, 24, snared a pair of silver medals in individual events in Rio, and told NBC Miami that he took a lot from the thrilling Olympics of 19-year-old Simone Biles.

Biles, of course, captivated the nation with her remarkable run in Brazil. And she also captivated her teammates on the men’s side.

From NBCMiami.com:

“I was just trying to emulate her persona and the way she approaches her events,” Leyva told NBC 6. “You can tell that she’s enjoying herself out there and that’s what I was trying to do.”

“It really has helped.”

It’s refreshing to hear such honesty, especially across what’s oft-considered a gender divide. Perhaps his relaxed persona was the difference from USA’s ultra intense men’s team competition.