March 3, 2012 / 8:50 PM / 6 years ago

Wieber, Leyva win at American Cup

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World all-around women’s champion Jordyn Wieber and fellow-American Alexandra Raisman finished one-two, and compatriot Danell Leyva claimed men’s honors at the American Cup gymnastics meet on Saturday.

Wieber, 16, overcame some slips to win the all-around meeting with 61.032 points,.20 better than 17-year-old world bronze medalist Raisman. Larisa Iordache of Romania,15, finished third at 59.332.

Leyva battled back from fourth place with a brilliant performance on the high bar to overtake Mykola Kuksenkov of Ukraine, narrowly winning the silver cup by 90.664 points to 90.498. Marcel Nguyen of Germany was third at 89.925.

Rough edges were shown by all competitors in the early season meet with the London Olympics still five months away, but the roaring crowd of more than 12,000 at Madison Square Garden spurred the gymnasts on.

“I made a couple of mistakes,” said Wieber, who collected her third American Cup title despite mishandling a move on the bars and wobbling a bit on the beam. “I need to go back in the gym and fix the mistakes that I did.”

Wieber said fighting back with a strong finish on the floor exercise was satisfying.

“I think this is really important for my confidence,” she said, and noted that the 16.10 she received in the vault was her highest score ever on the apparatus.

Raisman also received a mark of 16.10 on the vault.

“I‘m really happy and excited about my performance and I can’t wait for what the rest of the year has to offer,” she said.

Underlining the strength of the U.S. women’s team, which won gold at last year’s world championships, Gabrielle Douglas, allowed to compete unofficially, posted a total of 61.299 which would have won the competition.

Leyva, who two weeks ago needed 80 stitches on his face after being bitten while breaking up a fight between his three American bulldogs, finished strong to an explosion of cheers from the home crowd, scoring 15.933 in the last discipline to claim victory.

“My whole high bar routine from start to finish, I felt was on point, every skill. Landing and having the crowd cheer for me like that was so amazing. I get chills thinking about it right now,” he said.

“It’s definitely a stepping stone,” Leyva said when asked about the road to the London Games.

Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Gene Cherry

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