Alexa Ainsworth, NBC Olympics
John Orozco and Danell Leyva are expected to provide the U.S. men’s gymnastics team a formidable 1-2 punch in both the team and all-around finals at the London Olympics.
Sure, in the team competition there’s the defending champions from China and of course, the Japanese team led by all-around favorite Kohei Uchimura. But at just 19 (Orozco) and 20 (Leyva) years old, the first-time Olympians are not going to London just to say they made it…
“We definitely want more than just making the Olympic team,” Leyva told NBCOlympics.com. “We’re going there to win. The team is so strong and we’re really focused and we truly believe that we can win.”
“We have so much talent on this team it’s not even funny,” Orozco added. “But we’re not going to just take it. China and Japan are not going to just hand it over. It’s going to be an amazing fight by everyone and so much fun to watch.”
And people will be watching. The five member U.S. men’s team, which also includes veteran Jonathan Horton, Jake Dalton, and Sam Mikulak, has become quite popular – from ten’s of thousands of Twitter followers, to GQ magazine shoots and corporate sponsorships that include commercial spots and billboards across America.
“We’ve got a lot of great characters on the team and the energy they bring out on the floor is really contagious and people like that,” Orozco said. “We’re getting a lot of attention with social media like Facebook and Twitter. It’s fun and I’m enjoying it, but you can’t get too distracted.”
Especially when the end goal is an Olympic gold medal. Sure, a retweet here and there won’t hurt, but Orozco and Leyva do not want to let the London hype spoil a lifelong dream.
“It feels like all my hard work has finally paid off and this is it,” Orozco added. “I don’t have to dream about it anymore. This is finally happening. I’m just trying to live in the moment and enjoy it.”
“I’m super anxious,” Leyva said. “I just want to get there already. It’s going to be an amazing ride.”
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.