l court hearing, attorney Jordan Siev sa

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RIO DE JANEIRO -- The words trail Danell Leyva even now, four eventful years since that warm night in London when -- giddy from his bronze in the all-around at the 2012 Olympics -- the rising American star made a very public pledge.Shortly after the awards ceremony, Leyva leaned over and asked newly minted champion Kohei Uchimura of Japan if he planned to stick around for the 2016 Games. Pressed on why he wanted to know, Leyva flashed a smile and said simply I want to beat him.Leyva will get his chance when the mens competition kicks off on Saturday with qualifying at Rio Olympic Arena, just not in the way he imagined.While Uchimura heads into the preliminary round as the heavy favorite to repeat and further cement his status as the greatest male gymnast in history, Leyva will take on a smaller role for the Americans, competing in just three of the six events: pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.Its not what Leyva had in mind when he plotted out the quadrennium between London and Rio. Then again, at this point hes simply grateful to be here at all. Leyva was originally named as an alternate before filling in when John Orozcos star-crossed career took a brutal turn after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his left knee last month.Asked if he regrets his exuberance while good-naturedly calling out Uchimura, Leyva shook his head.Why wouldnt you want to say you want to be the best? he said following Olympic Trials in June. Yeah, it hasnt been the perfect quad, but that goal should always be there.A goal that Leyva has flirted with at times over the last four years, if only briefly. He was a close second to Uchimura in the high bar final at the 2015 world championships, putting together an electrifying series of releases on an event that served as a reminder of how good Leyva can be when all the dots are connected.Its getting -- and keeping -- them connected thats long been a problem. Hes seen his spot as the top all-arounder in the U.S. taken by four-time national champion Sam Mikulak, who will do all six events along with team captain and 29-year-old Olympic rookie Chris Brooks. Jake Dalton will compete on five apparatuses and Alex Naddour will salute the judges four times, leaving Leyva -- the most decorated American gymnast in international competition on the team -- as a true event specialist.Leyvas path hasnt been marred by serious injury but smaller ones that seemed to blunt his momentum.Ive always been accustomed to high-intensity training, he said. But there were times I couldnt do the amount of numbers I was used to, and you could obviously tell when I was out there.The future of the mens program in 2012 found himself off the national team for a brief time shortly thereafter before reclaiming his spot in 2014. While the majority of the national team works out together at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado, Leyva has remained in Miami with his mother Maria and his stepfather/coach Yin Alvarez.There was no point in moving out and having more things to deal with, Leyva said. I dont live at the OTC and I dont live in any college where everything is easier. I live at home. We own the gym, so everything is easier.Except when the family dogs start mixing it up. He arrived at American Cup in 2012 with stitches on his face after breaking up a fight. It happened again right before the U.S. championships in June, when gashes on his leg impacted his preparations, one of the reasons he says he looked so lethargic. He was much improved a few weeks later at trials, even if it wasnt quite enough to force the hand of the selection committee.Yet if youre looking for bitterness or anger, look elsewhere. Sure he was disappointed when his name wasnt called, yet he didnt hesitate when national team coordinator Kevin Mazeika called him in the early morning hours asking if hed be OK with being an alternate.I was just like, `Oh, cool, Leyva said. I know how super important those guys can be.And now Leyva finds himself one of them. If he can help the Americans return to the podium following their flameout in London -- when they topped qualifying but faded to fifth in the finals -- dont expect him to make any sort of proclamations pointing to 2020. Hes not about that anymore. For now its about focusing on the moment and trying to enjoy it. Hes become all too aware of how fleeting they can be.Ive tried to think more about the performance, he said. If thats where the focus is, then the results will come.---Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP Nike Air Max 2018 . 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