Sunisa Lee of St. Paul won the women’s all-around gymnastics trophy on Thursday, July 29, during the Tokyo Olympics. St. Paul native Sunisa Lee has spent her entire life working for this moment. She started in gymnastics as a highly energetic 6-year-old, and as she rapidly progressed through the game, she eventually began to set her sights on the Olympics. And on Thursday, she became an Olympic gold medalist — and within the biggest event of all, the all-around competition.
On Tuesday, the 18-year-old Lee led the U.S. to silver within the team competition after the American star Simone Biles withdrew from the meet. Here are some things to understand about Lee, our newest Olympic gold medalist:
She is that the first Hmong American to represent Team USA within the Olympics. She hails from St. Paul, the town with the most important concentration of Hmong during a metro area outside of Southeast Asia.
Her parents, John Lee and Yeev Thoj are both immigrants from Laos. While John isn’t her biological father, Sunisa decided to require his surname. She has five siblings — sisters Shyenne and Evionn, and brothers Jonah, Lucky, and Noah.
Her father is paralyzed from the waist down. He fell out of a tree within the days leading up to the 2019 U.S. Championships, the meet during which Sunisa first really gained national attention together with her performance. She graduated from South St. Paul high school this year. Her routine on the uneven bars is widely regarded to be the foremost difficulty within the world. That said, Lee lists beam as her favorite event on the USA Gymnastics website. She will attend Auburn University within the fall and compete on the gymnastics team.