American gymnast Danell Leyva overcame several stumbles on Wednesday to win the bronze medal in the men's all-around competition. But Leyva's lucky towel also came out of the competition a winner: Overnight the blue and gray cloth became an Internet sensation, with a Twitter following of more than 10,000 fans.
"I am Danell Leyva's Towel, the true star of men's gymnastics," states the towel's profile, whose administrator remains unknown.
And it's a hard point to argue. The towel, which also has a Tumblr following, has certainly enjoyed its share of the limelight during NBC's coverage of the games. Between events, Leyva uses the towel as a sort of mobile cave, draping it over his head to block out the competition and maintain his focus.
During the all-around final, NBC even took time out of the "live" action to air a segment with Ryan Seacrest, Leyva, Leyva's towel and Leyva's stepfather/coach, Yin Alvarez.
"So let's see this thing," Seacrest said, handling the towel, which is adorned with stars and a border of crescent moons.
"I have this with me everywhere I go," Leyva explained during the clip. "It's definitely lucky."
Shortly after the segment aired, this tweet appeared on the Towel's account:
OMG! It's a fluff piece all about meeeee!
— Danell Leyva's Towel (@LeyvasTowel) August 2, 2012
The charismatic Leyva, whose family fled Cuba before settling in Miami, is not one to shy from the spotlight. He gained notoriety early on during the competition when a series of self-portraits went viral.
During a post-podium interview, Leyva happily addressed some of the more pressing questions of the competition.
"I do wash [the towel.] It's not all sweaty and nasty," Leyva said. "I do wash it like every three days or so."
But the origins of the now-ubiquitous lucky charm are fairly mundane. Yahoo! Sports has the details:
"One aunt went to go buy a towel, and the other one went to her house to get a towel for me because I wanted something to wipe my sweat off," Leyva explained. "And they both came back with the exact same towel. I said, 'OK, this is a coincidence. I'm going to keep these two as my lucky towels.' One of them ripped a couple of months later, so I just had the one. I've had it since 2007. It hasn't left my side since."
Leyva said he does not know who is behind the hilarious Twitter persona, but he's a fan.
"It's crazy," Leyva told USA Today. "It's kinda cool."
No word yet on whether or not the confident rag will be granting any interviews.
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