Jun 7, 2012 10:53 PM by Jordan Mason
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Defending champion Danell Leyva grabbed the early lead at the U.S. men's gymnastics championships Thursday night, sneaking past John Orozco in the final rotation with a polished parallel bars routine.
Leyva, also the world champion in the event, scored 15.800 points to finish at 91.850, just ahead of Orozco's 91.8.
Leyva and Orozco were more than a point ahead of Sam Mikulak, the 2010 junior champion. Chris Brooks and Jonathan Horton rounded out the top five as the U.S. Olympic picture began to take shape.
This was the first step in four-round, three-week test of nerves. The scores from this weekend will be combined with the scores at the Olympic trials at the end of the month, with the gymnast earning the top overall total locking up an automatic Olympic spot.
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