Suni Lee became the latest American woman to win gold in the Olympic gymnastics individual all-around contest on Thursday in Tokyo, stepping into the spotlight after Simone Biles withdrew to focus on her mental health.
The 18-year-old Lee is the fifth consecutive — and sixth overall — American woman to win the title of Olympic all-around champion. The exclusive club includes Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles. Lee was also the first Hmong American to keep at an Olympics, and now, the first gold medalist.
In the emotional final, Lee was rock-solid in every outing, outlasting Brazil's Rebeca Andrade.
Relive each of Lee's routines, as well as her virtual interview with her family after winning, below.
Lee got off to a strong start, besting her 14.333 score from qualifications with a 14.600 on vault. She appeared unfazed when Rebeca Andrade and Jade Carey put up huge scores (15.300 and 15.200).
In a routine that NBC gymnastics analyst Nastia Liukin said would "define" Lee's all-around final, she delivered. Lee, an uneven bars specialist, performed the hardest version of her set and matched her big qualification score with another 15.300.
After a number of athletes came off the beam ahead of her, Lee was able to stay on the tricky apparatus. She nearly came off while performing wolf turns, but maintained remarkable composure and was able to save herself from falling, earning a 13.833 and setting up a battle on floor.
Leading Andrade 43.733 to 43.632, Lee needed one last quality routine to hang on to the lead. She decided to scrap her fourth tumbling pass on floor, believing she could score higher without it — and it paid off. Lee earned a 13.700 and clinched the gold shortly thereafter when Andrade earned a 13.666.
Interview with Family
Lee and her family's journey up to the Olympics was a harrowing one. Shortly before U.S. nationals in 2019, her father was paralyzed from the waist down in a ladder accident. Then last year, Lee lost both an aunt and an uncle to COVID-19, and dealt with an injury that threatened to keep her off the Olympic team.
Though her family couldn't be in Tokyo, they were virtually reunited for an emotional interview after Lee's win.