Suni Lee became the first Asian American woman to win gold in the Olympics’ all-around competition.
She also extended the United States’ 17-year winning streak in that competition, a extension that seemed bleak when Olympic all-around champ, Simone Biles announced her withdrawal. An American has now won each of the last five Olympic titles.
Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade won silver, the first medal for the country in women’s gymnastics. And Russian athlete Angelina Melnikova won the bronze.
“This is such a surreal moment. I just feel like I could have never been here ever. It doesn’t even feel like real life,” the 18-year-old said after winning the most coveted medal in gymnastics.
Lee, who turned 18 in March, has also overcome a spate of injuries, including a broken bone in her foot and an Achilles tendon injury last year. In 2019, she won gold on uneven bars at the US Championships shortly after her father had fallen off a ladder and become paralyzed from the chest down, while last year she lost her aunt and uncle to Covid-19.
“The past two years have been absolutely crazy with Covid and my family and everything else,” Lee told reporters at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
“This medal definitely means a lot to me because there was a point in time when I wanted to quit and I just didn’t think I would ever be here, including injuries and stuff.”So there are a lot of emotions, but I’m definitely super proud of myself for sticking with it and believing in myself.”