|Full name||Sunisa Lee|
|Country represented||United States|
|Born||March 9, 2003|
Saint Paul, Minnesota
|Training location||Little Canada, Minnesota|
|Height||5 ft 0 in (1.52 m)|
|Discipline||Women's artistic gymnastics|
|Level||Senior International Elite|
|Years on national team||2017–Present (USA)|
|Club||Midwest Gymnastics Center|
|College team||Auburn Tigers (letter of intent)|
|Head coach(es)||Jess Graba|
|Assistant coach(es)||Alison Lim|
Sunisa "Suni" Lee (born March 9, 2003) is an American artistic gymnast. She is the 2020 Olympic all-around champion and uneven bars bronze medalist. She was a member of the teams that won gold at the 2019 World Championships and silver at the 2020 Olympic Games. Lee is a six-time member of the U.S. women's national gymnastics team and is the first Hmong-American Olympian. With a total of 6 world championship and Olympic medals, she is tied with Gabby Douglas, Kim Zmeskal, Kyla Ross, and Rebecca Bross as the 9th most decorated American female gymnast.
Sunisa Lee was born Sunisa Phabsomphou on March 9, 2003, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Yeev Thoj, a healthcare worker. Lee is of Hmong descent, and her mother, a refugee, immigrated to the United States from Laos as a child. Lee was raised by her mother's longtime partner, John Lee, from the age of two onwards and she began using his surname professionally as a teenager. She has three half-siblings, Evionn, Lucky, and Noah, through her mother's relationship with Lee, and Lee had two children, Jonah and Shyenne, from a previous relationship. Evionn also competed in artistic gymnastics at the regional level. Lee lives in St. Paul.
At six years old, Lee started gymnastics at the Midwest Gymnastics Center in Little Canada, Minnesota, a St. Paul suburb, where she continues to train to this day. The following year, Lee began competing and won the all-around at a state meet, the second meet of her career. At age eight, she moved up three levels. She qualified for elite at eleven years old.
In August 2019, just days before Lee competed in her first senior USA Gymnastics National Championships, her father fell out of a tree while helping a friend, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The following year, Lee's aunt and uncle died from COVID-19. When discussing these tragedies, Lee said, "I am tougher because of it."
Lee competed in the Hopes division in 2015 and became a junior elite in 2016. She made her junior elite debut at the 2016 U.S. Classic.
In 2017, she made the junior national team and made her international debut at the Gymnix International Junior Cup, where the US won the gold medal in the team event and Lee won the silver medal on uneven bars.
Lee was named to the team to compete at the 2018 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships. There, she won the gold medal with the U.S. team in the team final and won the silver medal on vault, balance beam, and floor exercise. She finished 4th in the all-around.
The following month, an ankle injury forced Lee to withdraw from the Pan American Junior Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Lee competed in August at the 2018 U.S. National Championships in Boston as one of the favorites for the junior national title along with Leanne Wong, Jordan Bowers, and Kayla DiCello. She won the bronze medal in the all-around behind Wong and DiCello and won the gold medal on the uneven bars.
In February, USA Gymnastics announced that Lee would make her senior debut at the 2019 City of Jesolo Trophy. There, she won the gold medal in the all-around and helped the U.S. win the gold medal in the team final. She also won the gold medal on bars and floor, as well as the bronze medal on beam behind reigning World Champion Liu Tingting of China and teammate Emma Malabuyo.
Later that month, Lee competed at the American Classic on only bars and beam. She placed second on beam and fifth on bars after falling off twice. After the conclusion of the American Classic, Lee was named as one of the eight athletes being considered for the team to compete at the 2019 Pan American Games along with Skye Blakely, Kara Eaker, Aleah Finnegan, Morgan Hurd, Shilese Jones, Riley McCusker, and Leanne Wong.
At the 2019 U.S. National Championships, Lee competed all four events on the first day of competition and was in second place in the all-around behind Simone Biles and in first place on uneven bars. On the second day of competition, she continued performing clean routines and ended up winning the silver medal in the all-around behind Biles. She also won the gold medal on bars ahead of Morgan Hurd and Biles, placed fourth on beam behind Biles, Kara Eaker, and Leanne Wong, and won the bronze medal on floor behind Biles and Jade Carey. As a result, she was named a member of the national team.
In September, Lee competed at the US World Championships trials, where she placed second in the all-around behind Simone Biles, losing by only 0.350 points. The following day she was named to the team to compete at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart alongside Biles, Kara Eaker, MyKayla Skinner, Jade Carey, and Grace McCallum. She was the only first-year senior named to the team and the only team member without prior World Championships experience.
During the qualification round at the World Championships, Lee helped the USA qualify to the team final in first place, over five points ahead of second place China. Individually, Lee qualified to the all-around final in second place behind teammate Biles despite a fall on the balance beam. She also qualified in second place behind Biles to the floor exercise final, beating out teammate Carey in a tiebreaker, and to the uneven bars final in third place behind reigning World Champion Nina Derwael of Belgium and 2015 World Champion Daria Spiridonova of Russia. Even with the fall on beam, Lee also would have qualified as a reserve for the balance beam finals, but was excluded by the two-per-country rule, as Biles and Eaker had both qualified in higher positions.
In the team final of the World Championships, Lee competed on uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise and helped the USA win the gold medal ahead of Russia and Italy. Although she fell again on balance beam, her score on uneven bars (14.733) was the third highest of the day, as was her score on floor exercise (14.233). In the all-around final, Lee finished in eighth place after an uncharacteristic fall from the uneven bars. In the uneven bars final, Lee performed a clean routine and earned a score of 14.800, winning the bronze medal behind Derwael and Becky Downie. The following day, she competed in the floor final and won the silver medal behind Biles.
Later that year, Lee spent two months recovering from a broken bone in her left foot, as well as two months recovering from an Achilles tendon injury. Lee did not compete for the remainder of the season due to the pandemic. In November, Lee signed her National Letter of Intent with Auburn University.
In February, Lee returned to competition at the 2021 Winter Cup, where she competed on bars and beam. She placed first on bars, and despite only competing a layout dismount off of apparatus, placed third on beam behind Skye Blakely and Jordan Chiles. In April, Lee competed at the American Classic and competed only on the uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Lee placed first on both uneven bars and balance beam with scores of 15.200 and 14.550 respectively. She placed fifth on floor despite competing a simple layout for two of her tumbling passes. In May, Lee competed at the U.S. Classic on only the uneven bars and balance beam. However she fell off both apparatuses and placed tenth and eighth respectively. Lee was one of five gymnasts featured on the Peacock docuseries Golden: The Journey of USA's Elite Gymnasts.
In June, Lee competed at the 2021 National Championships. During the first day of competition, Lee competed a 6.8 difficulty uneven bars routine, scoring a 15.3. Lee finished the competition second in the all around behind Simone Biles, first on the uneven bars, and second on the balance beam. As a result, Lee qualified to compete at the upcoming Olympic Trials.
On the first night of the Olympic Trials, Lee hit all four routines and posted an uneven bars score of 15.300. She ended the night in second place behind Biles. On the second night of competition, she once again hit all four routines. Lee scored a 58.166 on day two, scoring higher than Biles' 57.533. This was the third time in Biles' senior career and first time since 2013 where someone posted a higher one-day all-around score. However, Lee's two-day combined score was less than Biles' and she finished the competition in second place, resulting in her automatic qualification to the Olympic team alongside Biles. Also named to the team were Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum.
At the Olympic Games, Lee performed the all-around during qualifications and helped the USA qualify to the team final in second place behind the Russian Olympic Committee. (Test Info ) She hit all four of her routines and finished in third place overall behind Simone Biles and Rebeca Andrade and advanced to the final. Additionally, she advanced to the uneven bars final in second place behind Nina Derwael and the balance beam final in third behind Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing.
During the team final, Lee was initially set to compete only on uneven bars and balance beam. However, Biles withdrew from the competition after the first rotation and Lee replaced her on floor exercise. She hit all three of her routines, including her uneven bars routine which scored 15.400 (tying the highest mark of the competition in any event), and helped the United States finish second behind the Russian Olympic Committee.
During the all-around final, Lee hit all four of her routines and recorded the highest uneven bars score of the day to win the gold medal. She is the sixth American champion in the event following Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas, and Simone Biles, and the first Asian champion of any nationality. In honor of her Olympic success, along with being the first Hmong-American to win an Olympic gold medal, the governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, as well as the mayor of St. Paul, Melvin Carter, declared Friday, July 30, 2021, to be "Sunisa Lee Day".
During the uneven bars final Lee was the first competitor to go. She failed to connect several elements and scored a 14.500; despite this, she won the bronze medal. During the balance beam final, Lee placed fifth.
|Vault||Baitova||Yurchenko entry, laid out salto backwards with two twists||5.4||2019–21|
|Uneven bars||Piked Jaeger||Reverse grip swing to piked salto forwards to catch high bar||E||2019–21|
|Gienger||Swing fwd and salto bwd with ½ turn piked to hang on HB||D||2021|
|Bhardwaj||Laid out salto from high bar to low bar with full twist||E||2019–21|
|Van Leeuwen||Toe-on Shaposhnikova transition with ½ twist to high bar||E||2019–21|
|Nabieva||Toe-on to counter reversed laid out hecht over high bar||G||2019–21|
|Balance beam||Layout||Laid out salto backwards with legs together (to two feet)||E||2019|
|Mitchell||1080° (3/1) turn in tuck stand on one leg||E||2019–21|
|Switch ring||Switch leap to ring position (180° split with raised back leg)||E||2019–21|
|Floor exercise||Mitchell||1080° (3/1) turn in tuck stand on one leg||E||2019–21|
|Double layout||Double laid out salto backwards||F||2019–21|
|Silivas||Double-twisting (2/1) double tucked salto backwards||H||2019–21|
|P&G National Championships||10||23||10||20||5|
|P&G National Championships||8||17||6||11||5|
|2018||Pacific Rim Championships|
|U.S. National Championships||6||5|
|2019||City of Jesolo Trophy|
|U.S. National Championships||4|
|Worlds Team Selection Camp||6|
|U.S. National Championships||5|
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