With Simone Biles pulling out from the event, teammate Suni Lee stepped up and delivered a gold medal finish to capture the top spot. This was the first-ever gold for Lee as she narrowly beat Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade for the individual all-around gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
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Suni Lee Stepped Up For Team USA
Facing two formidable competitors Russia and Brazil, the US women’s gymnastics team needed an excellent performance from the diminutive Lee. Earlier, Russia’s Angelina Melnikova picked up a 13.467 score for her floor routine.
Suni Lee then delivered an epic performance for the US. in the individual all-around gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, closing in on a 13.700 score.
Brazilian contender Rebeca Andrade took to the floor but made some uncharacteristic slips. This earned her some penalty points and she had to settle at 13.666. This gave Lee her first Olympic gold medal.
Suni Lee’s First Gold Medal
The 18-year-old Suni Lee picked up her first Olympics gold medal. Earlier during the week, she won a silver medal along with the rest of the US team in the team all-around event. For the individual event, Lee finished with a total score of 57.433. Andrade finished second with 57.298 and Melnikova had 57.199.
Suni Lee is the first Hmong American to make the US Olympic gymnastics team. Her parents emigrated from Laos and settled in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Lee remains conscious of what her celebrity would mean for her Hmong people. “As I watch her, I’ll be thinking, ‘If she brings home a couple of medals, hopefully, a couple of gold, I mean, that would be so great for the family, the community, and for the USA,’” said John Lee, Suni’s father.
US Wins Silver Medal In Team All-Around
Lee and teammate Jade Carey had to step up with a teammate and overwhelming favorite Simone Biles pulled out of the event earlier. Biles earlier said she had to pull out to focus on her mental health. This opened up opportunities for both Lee and Carey to carry Team USA to a medal finish. Lee didn’t disappoint.
Meanwhile, Carey took the highest score in the vault competition but ultimately faded in the rankings. She ended up in eighth place for the all-around event. During the individual events, Simone Biles joined her teammates from the sidelines.
She sat between Jordan Chiles and MyKayla Skinner and near Grace McCallum. Together, they cheered on Suni Lee and Jade Carey in the event.
‘Winners In Our Hearts’
After helping win silver in the team all-around, Lee expressed support for their efforts. She tweeted that she’s “never been prouder to be a part of such an amazing team with an amazing group of girls. We stepped up when we needed to and did this for ourselves. We do not owe anyone a gold medal, we are WINNERS in our hearts,”
The Texas gymnastics superstar withdrew from the team all-around and later pulled out of the team event and the individual competition. She thanked her fans for their support in a tweet before Thursday’s event. “The outpouring (of) love & support I’ve receive(d) has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before,” Biles wrote. Later on, Biles told reporters after withdrawing she had to do what was right for her and “focus on my mental health.”
Biles Pulls Out From Event To Focus On Mental Health
Prior to the event, USA Gymnastics confirmed Biles will not participate in the individual all-around. “After a further medical evaluation, Simone Biles was withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement Wednesday.
“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals. Jade Carey, who had the ninth-highest score in qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around,” she added.
Watch the ABC News video reporting that American Suni Lee takes Olympic gold medal in gymnastics:
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