Sunisa Lee competes on balance beam at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo.
The summer before college is often a whirlwind. Over the last three weeks, gymnast Suni Lee took that to another level.
On July 29, the 18-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota, surprised even herself when she won the women’s all-around title at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She left Japan a few days later with a set of medals — gold, silver, bronze — for a brief trip to New York, followed by short stay at home, complete with a parade in her honor, before arriving on Tuesday at Auburn University, where she’ll soon be starting classes with the rest of the freshman class.
Talk about change.
Lee wasn’t exactly an unknown leading into the Tokyo Games — she’d also won a full set of medals at the 2019 world championships. She’d also earned attention by becoming the first Hmong American to make a U.S. Olympic Team. Even she wasn’t expecting to come home with the sport’s most coveted medal, though.
Leading up to Tokyo, a fan asked Lee via Instagram what her goals were for the Olympics. In a response that could be described as both realistic and best case, the gymnast outlined the medals she hoped to bring home. For the all-around, she was shooting for silver.
The lone individual gold medal she had in mind was on her signature event, the uneven bars.