Danell Leyva crawled back from 18th place to win the bronze medal in the men's gymnastics all-around final Wednesday night, but he didn't get near the attention of certain other members of the U.S. Olympic team. Just because the men's gymnastics team doesn't wear crystal-bejeweled leotards doesn't mean their tricks are any less cool than the women's. Here's our GIF guide for the guys.
Leyva and his teammate John Orozco started strong on the floor. But then both made huge mistakes on pommel horse, just as they did in team finals Monday. It might seem strange that pommel horse is the event that keeps tripping them up, since it looks more like a good core workout than some of the other gravity-defying feats they perform. But it's very easy to lose your balance and mess up your rhythm on this event. Both didn't make a real circle with their legs before they spun up into a handstand, which is required for a dismount. That meant a full point in deductions for each.
Even though this is a mistake, it's hard not to notice Orozco's amazing strength to pull himself from that weird postion into a handstand. He was visibly upset after he finished. His score was 12.566. Here's Leyva:
Leyva got a 13.5. Pommel horse is a low-scoring event, but those numbers weren't good.
Meanwhile, Japan's Kohei Uchimura was dominating the competition, as he has for years. He won the silver in the all-around at the Beijing Olympics, then won three straight world championships. Here's his excellent vault:
Does that look familiar? If so, it's because it's the Amanar, the same vault McKayla Maroney does:
Uchimura scored 16.266, which is 0.033 higher than Maroney. We suggest a vault-off.
Routine after routine, Uchimura was solid, and no one came close to him after three events. Here's his dismount from high bar, which is two twists and two flips:
That earned him a 15.6. He got a 15.1 on floor. Here's his first tumbling pass. What's amazing is how he keeps his legs perfectly together and his body straight the whole time he's spinning:
Uchimura won easily, finishing a point and a half ahead of the next competitor. The real fight was for the rest of the medal stand.
Several of the best guys -- Japan's Kazuhito Tanaka, South Korea's Km Soo Myun, both British finalists -- made big mistakes. Germany's Marcel Nguyen slowly moved up the ranks with clean routines. Here's two back flips above the parallel bars. This has always been the scariest trick for me to watch, because human arm bones aren't built to take a lot of force from that direction. Nguyen got a 15.833.
Leyva and Orozco were also climbing back up. He did a strong rings routine, then a parallel bars routine that tied Nguyen's score. This is one-and-a-half spins on one hand:
Where he really redeemed himself, though, was on high bar. Here's a single release move from his routine:
One of the best parts about watching Leyva is waiting for his step-dad, Yin Alvarez, to explode with joy when Leyva performs well. When Leyva landed his 15.7-scoring routine, Alvarez was all fist-pumps and bear hugs:
Leyva's high bar moved him into second place. Then he had to wait for Nguyen to finish floor.
Nguyen's 15.3 put him in second place, giving Leyva the bronze. It wasn't what Leyva had hoped for after qualifying in first place, but it was a great comeback.
Orozco, on the other hand, looked sad the rest of the night. It was too much for him to make up for pommel horse, but he did come back from 24th place to 8th. He finished with a good high bar routine, scoring a 14.966:
Orozco is probably not done with gymnastics for a long time, though. He's just 20, unusually young because it takes so many years to build those massive arm muscles. Expect to see him in 2016.
Want more gymnastics? Check out our other GIF guides: