Gymnast Suni Lee Shares What She's Taking from Her Unexpected Olympic Experience

The 18-year-old gymnast is leaving the Tokyo Games with some new hardware and a great perspective.

Photo: Getty Images

Gymnast Sunisa (Suni) Lee will leave this summer's Tokyo Games with three medals: a gold in the individual all-around final, a silver for the team all-around, and a bronze for the uneven bars final. Looking back on her experience, the 18-year-old gymnast says she's "really proud" of what she was able to accomplish in her Olympics debut.

"Not many people can say that they come to the Olympics their first time and bring home three medals," said Lee on Tuesday to People, the same day she placed fifth in the balance beam final, which resulted in teammate Simone Biles scooping up a bronze medal.

Last Tuesday, Lee — along with Biles, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum — nabbed the silver medal in the team all-around competition. Two days later, the Minnesota native earned gold in the individual all-around competition. Lee later added a bronze medal to her growing collection on Sunday during the uneven bars final, completing what The Today Show's Hoda Kotb referred to on Twitter as a "box set."

Despite putting up an overall incredible performance at the Games (three medals and a gold in the all-around is no small feat!), Lee expressed a little bit of disappointment after her imperfect uneven bars routine — the event that's considered to be her "specialty."

In a message posted to her Instagram account Sunday, Lee said that while her uneven bars routine "definitely wasn't" the performance she "expected to do," she is "proud" to have made it this far. "I'm proud of myself for not giving up. Disappointed & sad but beyond blessed to say I'm third in the world on bars. Wish I could have gotten to show everyone what I am capable of," continued Lee. (

On Tuesday, she shared another Instagram post reflecting on her time in Tokyo: "Just like that my olympic experience is over," she wrote. "Forever grateful to represent team USA & my amazing family back home. This has been the craziest yet most exciting journey. It was not quite how I expected my olympics to go but it's one that I will cherish forever ! THANK YOU to everyone who believed in me & helped me get here, your support is truly amazing and I cannot thank you enough."

That refreshing perspective will serve the gymnast well at her next life event: Her freshman year at Auburn University, where she's expected to be on campus next week. "I don't get home until the fifth, so get home and pack and leave," Lee told People on Tuesday.

As for how she plans to decorate her dorm room, some prolific pieces may or may not be involved. "They're my Olympic medals and I don't want to lose them," she said. "Probably going to take my worlds medals too just in case. It's gonna push me every single day to be even better." And as new member of Auburn's gymnastics team, there's a chance she'll be adding to her collection in the next four years as well.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles