Hmong American gymnast Sunisa Lee — also known as Suni Lee — fought her way to a gold medal in the women’s all-around competition Thursday in Tokyo, reported ESPN. Lee became the sixth American woman to accomplish the feat.
- Simone Biles, the defending all-around gold medalist, did not compete, reported the Deseret News.
- Lee, who is 18 years old and the youngest Team USA gymnast in Tokyo, edged out her competition by one-tenth of a point to secure gold, per The New York Times.
With her all-around gold medal, Lee secured her place among an elite group of gymnasts, reported ESPN.
Who is Sunisa Lee?
A Minnesota native, Lee has spent years training to become an elite gymnast. A Hmong American, she “went to the gym every day for all the first-generation Americans who wanted to achieve success when their parents had come to the United States with nothing,” reported The New York Times.
- When Lee qualified for the Olympics in June, she became the first Hmong American to ever compete for Team USA, reported NBC Chicago.
- Lee’s close-knit family, particularly her father, has cheered her on and supported her journey since the beginning, per ESPN.
Going into the Olympics, Lee had already won multiple world medals. Her bar routine is known as one of the most difficult routines in the world, reported The New York Times.
How did Suni Lee win the all-around event?
When Biles stepped back from the all-around competition, Lee stepped up to the challenge of filling the void, per The New York Times. Lee gave an incredible performance Thursday.
- Lee scored 14.600 on vault and 13.833 on beam, reported NBC Chicago.
- On the uneven bars, her signature event, Lee scored 15.300 — the highest score of the day, reported ESPN.
- Going into the final flour event, Lee led by one-tenth of a point and, with a score of 13.700, held her lead till the end, per NBC Chicago.
Lee finished with a final score of 57.433, per ESPN. She edged out Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade who finished with a score of 57.298 and secured the silver medal.
What did Suni Lee say after winning gold?
After winning her first Olympic gold medal, Lee repeatedly described the victory as “surreal,” reported CNN. “The past two years have been absolutely crazy with COVID and my family and everything else,” Lee said after her win.
- “This medal definitely means a lot to me,” Lee said per CNN, “because there was a point in time when I wanted to quit and I just didn’t think I would ever be here.”
- “So there are a lot of emotions, but I’m definitely super proud of myself for sticking with it and believing in myself,” she said.
“’This is for my dad and my mom and my coach’,” “Today’s” Hoda Kotb reported Lee saying. “She stood there with a medal talking about everyone else who deserved it.”