Danell Johan Leyva was born on October 30, 1991 in Cardenas, Matanzas, Cuba. Leyva's mother and step-father (who is also his coach) defected to the USA when Leyva was just a year old. Leyva's step-father receives attention by the media at events for his enthusiastic outbursts. Leyva is the 2011 National Champion and normally missed defending his title in 2012. On June 30, 2012, Leyva secured himself a spot on the Men's Gymnastics Olympic team by finishing first at the Olympic Trials. Leyva bounced back from a disappointing finish in the team final to win the bronze medal in the all-around final. Leyva was initially selected as an alternate to the US team in 2016 but an injury to John Orozco meant Leyva was placed on the team.