Danell Leyva
© Brian Freed

Leyva leads all-around after first day of 2012 Visa Championships ST LOUIS, Mo., June 7, 2012 – Danell Leyva of Miami, Fla./Team Hilton HHonors, leads the all-around competition after the first night of the senior men’s competition at the 2012 Visa Championships with a 91.850 at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Mo. The final day of the men’s competition is Saturday, June 9, at 11:30 a.m. Tomorrow, women’s gymnastics takes center stage with the first day of competition for both junior and senior levels.

"It feels pretty good to be leading the Visa Championships," Leyva said. "I’m using this meet as a stepping stone to get to the Olympic Games, so it’s perfect."

John Orozco of Colorado Springs, Colo./Team Hilton HHonors, finished a close second with a 91.800, and Sam Mikulak of Ann Arbor, Mich./University of Michigan, finished third in the all-around with a score of 90.550.

Leyva, who trains at Universal Gymnastics, began the competition on the horizontal bar where he scored 15.850. He moved to floor exercise where he scored a 15.250, mounting with a laid-out double twisting double back. In the third rotation, pommel horse, he posted a 14.800. On still rings, Leyva’s routine scored a 14.650. In the fifth rotation, he scored a 15.500 on vault for his Kasumatsu one-and-a-half, and he wrapped up the night on parallel bars, earning a 15.800 for his routine with a peach to Diamidov and stuck double pike dismount. Leyva, who is the 2011 world champion on parallel bars, had the evening’s highest score on the event.

Steven Legendre of Norman, Okla./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma), took the session’s top honors on floor exercise (16.150), tumbling a layout Arabian double with full twist (Hypolito).

On pommel horse, Glen Ishino of Santa Ana, Calif./University of California – Berkeley, had the top score of 15.450.

2008 Olympic silver-medalist Jonathan Horton of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Gymnastics), posted the night’s highest still rings score at 15.500, dismounting with a double double.

Chris Brooks of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors, had the best score on vault for his front handspring double pike front vault, scoring a 16.450.

Leyva claimed the top score on the parallel bars, and tied with Paul Ruggeri of Manlius, N.Y./University of Illinois, to top the rankings on horizontal bar with a score of 15.850. Ruggeri executed a layout Tkatchev-half and a stuck double twisting, double layout dismount.

The final day of the men’s competition will take place on Saturday, June 9, and scores for both days will be added together to determine the all-around and event champions.

The 2012 Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, features the country’s best gymnasts vying for national titles and spots on the U.S. National Team in men’s and women’s gymnastics.

Single-session tickets for the Visa Championships range in price from $20 to $99.50, including facility fees. Ticket prices vary according to seat location and session. In addition, the multi-session tickets (men’s package that features both days of competition; all-day women’s package that features both junior and senior sessions for day one; and a women’s finals package that features the final day of competition for both junior and senior women) and all-session ticket packages are still available. Multi-session ticket packages for men’s and women’s gymnastics range from $60 to $125, and all-session ticket packages go from $105 to $325.

All tickets may be purchased by phone at 314-534-1111 or 800-293-5949; online at www.thechaifetzarena.com; or at the Chaifetz Arena Box Office. Group discounts are available by calling 314-977-5008. In recognition of Visa’s sponsorship of USA Gymnastics, USA Gymnastics is proud to accept only Visa at the 2012 Visa Championships, along with cash.

Television, webcast and YouTube coverage

Universal Sports television will broadcast the women’s senior competition live on June 8 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Then, NBC Sports will broadcast live coverage of the final day of both the men’s competition, June 9 from 1-3:30 p.m. ET, and the women’s competition, June 10 from 4-6 p.m. ET. Competition in the first day of senior women’s competition will be simultaneously webcast on usagym.org courtesy of UniversalSports.com. To find a Universal Sports channel in a specific area, go to UniversalSports.com.

For all four junior men’s and women’s sessions and the first day of senior men’s competition, USA Gymnastics will provide complete coverage of the event on its official YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/usagymnasticsorg. Additionally, USA Gymnastics will post highlight clips from men’s and women’s podium training beginning on June 5.

Ways to follow

  • Online. The 2012 Visa Championships and its ancillary activities are easier than ever to follow online. Schedules and general information for both fan activities and the competition, including the official event program, start lists, live scoring and more are available at www.usagym.org/visa, which is easily viewable on smart phones and other digital devices.

  • Social Media. USA Gymnastics are connecting with fans on Facebook (facebook.com/USAGymnastics) and Twitter (@USAGym), providing live updates and exclusive content including videos and photos from the Visa Championships. Gymnastics fans can follow the action easily on Twitter by using the official hashtag of the 2012 Visa Championships, #visachamps.

  • Fan Activities. USA Gymnastics will be hosting a wide-range of fan activities on Laclede Avenue just outside Chaifetz Arena including gymnastics demonstrations and Painting at Chaifetz presented by Art of the Olympians. Fans can also gather for fun prior to competition on June 8, following competition June 9, and both between and after sessions on June 10 right outside Chaifetz Arena for the Visa Fan Fest to enjoy interviews, food, music and celebrate the Visa Championships.

Background information

  • Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University. Chaifetz Arena (TheChaifetzArena.com) is a 10,600-seat multipurpose venue on the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. Chaifetz Arena is the home to the Saint Louis University Billikens Men’s and Women’s Basketball and 150 concerts, family shows and special events per year. The $81-million arena opened in April 2008 and features a 20,000 square foot event floor, 14 suites, two party decks, two multi-purpose rooms, and a 4,700 square foot club on the event floor. Global Spectrum (global-spectrum.com) manages Chaifetz Arena, as well as more than 100 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20-million people attended more than 11,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year. Based in Philadelphia, Pa., Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities, Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions, Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company, and Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks.

  • St. Louis Sports Commission. The St. Louis Sports Commission is the privately funded nonprofit organization that makes St. Louis a better place to live, visit, work and play through sports. Its efforts focus on attracting, creating and managing major sporting events for the St. Louis region – and contributing to its quality of life. Since its inception in 1989, the organization has produced a diverse lineup of high-profile events that excite area sports fans, generate revenue for the region and garner positive exposure for St. Louis. The Sports Commission hosted the Visa Championships in 2000 and has played integral roles in other recent Olympic events staged in St. Louis. A catalyst for civic benefit, economic development and charitable good, the Sports Commission has been recognized as a leader in its industry and its community.