“This is such a surreal second. I simply really feel like I may have by no means been right here ever. It would not even really feel like actual life,” the 18-year-old mentioned after successful probably the most coveted medal in gymnastics.
But Lee’s historic efficiency — highlighted by probably the most troublesome, astonishing uneven bars routine on the earth — additionally capped an immensely troublesome journey.
She’s been marred by accidents, misplaced an aunt and uncle to Covid-19 and grappled with a horrific accident that left her father paralyzed.
In 2019, her father John was serving to a neighbor trim a tree when he fell and turned paralyzed from the waist down.
The father of six had supported Lee’s gymnastics from the start — serving to her carry out tips round the home, generally on the frustration of her mom.
“I used to be at all times leaping on the mattress or having my dad spot me whereas I used to be doing backflips and stuff like that,” Lee advised TwinCities.com. “Finally, my mother bought uninterested in it” — and that is when she enrolled in gymnastics.
Just days after her father’s devastating accident, Suni Lee made her senior debut on the US gymnastics championships.
At age 16, she defied expectations — capturing the gold medal on uneven bars, the bronze on the ground train, and the silver within the all-around — simply behind Biles.
Now, at age 18, Lee joins an elite listing of American Olympic all-around champions: Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles.
Back residence in Minnesota, John Lee pumped his fist within the air as he watched his daughter attain the head of her sport.
“There’s no phrases to explain how we really feel proper now,” John Lee advised CNN affiliate WCCO.
Suni’s mom, Yeev Thoj, mentioned her daughter has made immense sacrifices to attain her dream.
“All the accidents … she has a unhealthy day, then she’ll come residence so careworn about it and crying — that has lastly paid off,” Thoj advised WCCO.
“She’s a gold medalist. And I’m tremendous proud.”
It’s an achievement that just about did not occur.
“There was a cut-off date the place I wished to stop and I simply did not assume I might ever get right here,” Lee mentioned after her victory.
“So there’s positively a lot of feelings. But I’m tremendous happy with myself for sticking with it and believing in myself as a result of this medal wouldn’t be potential with out my coaches, the medical group, my dad and mom. It’s simply so surreal, and I have not even let it sink in but.”