Olympics: Gymnast Danell Leyva on being like Spider-Man, his favorite sports flicks, and more | PopWatch


Image Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

The U.S. men’s gymnastics team may have left the team all-around competition empty handed, but Wednesday night NBC will show the individual competition in prime time. Cuban-born, U.S. raised gymnast Danell Leyva may be best known for his coach (and stepfather) Yin Alvarez’s boisterous gestures during competition, but Leyva has a personality all his own. He shared his pop culture picks with us. Continue below to find out five things you didn’t know about Levya, like his obsession with Spider-Man and which movie he and fellow competitor Jonathan Horton both love.

1. He’s a huge Louie fan. “I’ve always liked his [Louis C.K.’s] humor and the way he talks about things. He’s really, really funny.”

2. He’s a gymnast by day, Spider-Man by night. Shhh! “I was super, super excited about the Spider-Man movie that came out, because they really followed the comic book, almost to the core. I also liked how they switched the web slinging, like it wasn’t just a natural thing that came with the powers. It was something he made. I say that I am Spider-Man, because, well, I mean. But whatever. A lot of people don’t believe me. It’s cool. It’s ok. It keeps my identity secret, in a way.” Wait, so, the gymnastics is just a cover? ”I’m just a gymnast, but I really go around saving people in New York and stuff. Spider-Man has always been a huge role model for me, so I’ve always kind of kept his story.”

3. Miracle is the ultimate sports movie. “Obviously Miracle, you know the hockey movie. That’s amazing. Yeah, that’s like a team movie that we like to watch.”

4. He jams to Drake, but not just his music. “Drake is actually [one of the people I admire], one of the reasons why I look up to him so much is because he started as an actor. He’s actually pretty good in the show Degrassi. And he’s obviously an amazing musician.”

5. When Drake’s not on his iPod, it’s Michael Bublé and Otis Redding. Surprised? “I like his [Bublé’s] style. He brings old school back. He brings that Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin feel.” And Redding? “There’s one song in particular that I’m actually currently obsessed with, it’s called ‘Cigarettes and Coffee.’ Oh my god, that song is so good. It’s so chill and mellow.”

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