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Fourth-Place Medal

John Orozco comes from behind to beat Danell Leyva for Visa Championships title

Fourth-Place Medal

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National champion John Orozco on rings. (AP)

ST. LOUIS -- After Danell Leyva led for the entire Visa Championships second day, John Orozco came from behind with a huge floor exercise to win the all-around title. Orozco won with a score of 184.850 for two days, and Leyva finished five hundredths of a point behind him.

The performance was special for Orozco and his mother. She had been in the hospital with an infection before the Visa Championships, but was able to make it to the event to see her son win it all.

"She still came today. I can't believe she was there in the stands. I'm happy she could share this moment with me," Orozco said. "She's really stubborn. I told her, if you're in pain, I don't want you coming. She said no. I'm coming. I have to be there."

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Leyva on parallel bars (AP)

Orozco did not win any individual events, but had consistent routines throughout the competition. In 12 events over two days, he only posted one score lower than 15. His best event was a steady high bar routine that wasn't as flashy as Leyva's, but kept Orozco in the running. Leyva, on the other hand, won the parallel bars and high bars, but finished ninth on rings and 12th on vault.

The rivalry gives gymnastics fans a reason to look forward to men's competition in London. With Saturday's performance, Leyva and Orozco showed they have the all-around chops to compete with the world's best.

"I'm really glad that it's like this, because it's not all about the individuals this year. It's about the team. This is great," Leyva said. He was not upset about losing a meet so closely because of how well his teammates did. "Everybody's doing amazing, and I've done one of the best competitions that I've done so far. I'm not that mad about that."

It also showed how far ahead Orozco and Leyva are of the rest of the American field. Sam Mikulak, who was impressive in finishing his routine even after an equipment problem, took third. He was two full points behind Leyva. Jonathan Horton, who won bronze and silver in Beijing, took fourth. Chris Brooks and Jacob Dalton tied for fifth place.

Next, the Olympic hopefuls will head to San Jose at the end of June for Olympic Trials. Visa Championship scores will be combined with scores from those events as a factor to decide who will represent the U.S. in London.

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