Danell Leyva approached a chair in a corridor at Chaifetz Arena, the attention of the United States gymnastics community fixed on the men's hopefuls. The defending national champion had finished the opening night of the Visa Championships in first place with a score of 91.85.
As he prepared to leave the area, Jonathan Horton, the fifth-place finisher (90.30), turned to Leyva with high praise.
"Hey, you're pretty good, man," Horton told Leyva before offering a high-five. "You're a pretty good gymnast."
The exchange was a sign of respect among top competitors on a night when the men commanded the spotlight at USA Gymnastics' national championships. The retirement of four-time Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson on Sunday captured headlines for much of the past week, and women's stars like Nastia Liukin, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and Alicia Sacramone will have a chance to impress here in two of the next three days.
But Thursday was a time for the men, and Leyva and Horton were among th...