American gymnast Sunisa Lee was about to leave the sport because of a complicated family history, but she won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics – know her story.
There are athletes in the Olympic Games who monopolize attention for their feats, their statements or even their failures, so there are champions who are left out of the conversation, but it is important to make their stories visible.
Such is the case of Sunisa Lee, an 18-year-old American gymnast with ancestry from an Asian nomadic people called the Hmong and located in Laos.
At the Tokyo Olympics, Sunisa won a silver medal with the United States gymnastics team, bronze in the uneven bars event and was champion of the All-Around category, where Simone Biles was expected to win gold, but he retired.
Lee came to the Olympics after going through a difficult personal season in which he even considered leaving the sport.
Sunisa Lee’s family history
In 2019, days before competing at the USA Gymnastics National Championships, Sunisa Lee’s father fell out of a tree while helping a friend, causing paraplegia from the injury.
The gymnast wanted to leave the competition, but her father encouraged her to keep going despite the situation and came in second place, behind Simone Biles.
Although Sunisa Lee continued in gymnastics, her life was never the same again, as she has said that her father’s accident accompanies her in all training and competitions, so the feeling of practicing gymnastics is not the same than when I was younger.
“I’m not saying I’m not having fun right now, but being an elite gymnast is very limited because you’re always training and that’s all I focus on. I am no longer like a normal teenager, “she said in one interview.
Lee had another year to train for the Olympics because of the delay, but not to recover mentally. In 2020, two of his uncles died from covid-19.
At 17, the gymnast experienced a vulnerable moment in her life again, but later declared that those tragedies made her stronger.
Sunisa Lee en Tokio
Sunisa Lee traveled to Tokyo with thoughts against it and proved that she is ready to be an elite gymnast in the United States and become the possible successor to Simone Biles.
Lee won the silver medal with her fellow Americans, but also qualified individually for the all-apparatus test. With no Biles in the competition, Sunisa outscored her rivals and won gold for the United States.
In addition to making him win medals, his talent opened the doors to important universities in the United States, as he received offers of scholarships to study and train in gymnastics.
Lee will return to the United States with 3 medals in his first Olympic Games, staying within 2 medals of the mark that Simone Biles imposed in 2016; however, Lee is likely to return to the Olympics in 2024 and add more medals to his career.
He also experienced pressure in networks
Lee had one of the best performances in the Olympic Games, adding the bronze in the uneven bars event; However, she was not happy with the result and declared that social networks could influence her performance.
I’m probably going to delete Twitter. Instagram isn’t that bad because I can’t really see what people are saying, but on Twitter it’s easy to see everything. So I’ll probably have to end up deleting that, “he told People.
In addition, Sunisa Lee has become a phenomenon on TikTok with her official account, but she said that she is not willing to delete that social network yet.
Despite the adversities Sunisa Lee has gone through at her young age, she is one of the most recognized athletes in the United States and one of the next stars of gymnastics in her country.
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She lost family members to the pandemic, but got up and won a gold medal: meet Sunisa Lee