Out of Biles' Shadow, a New Gold Medalist for Team USA

18-year-old gymnast Suni Lee of Minnesota takes top honors at women's all-around finals
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2021 9:11 AM CDT
Suni Lee Takes Home Gymnastics Gold for US
Sunisa Lee of the United States performs during the artistic gymnastics women's all-around final at the Olympics on Thursday in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Much of the talk of late regarding women's gymnastics at the Summer Olympics has centered on the US' Simone Biles, who dropped out of multiple events to focus on her mental health, but one of her teammates just earned her own big headline. Sunisa Lee, 18, took home the gold medal Thursday in Tokyo in the women's all-around finals, earning her the hashtag #SheDidIt and membership in what the Wall Street Journal calls a club of recent "household first-name stars" that includes Simone (Biles), Gabby (Douglas), and Carly (Patterson). Per the Washington Post, Lee earned a score of 57.433, while silver medalist Rebeca Andrade of Brazil finished up with a 57.298, and Angelina Melnikova of the Russian Olympic Committee took home the bronze with a 57.199.

Lee—whose family can be seen celebrating her win here—is believed to be the first Hmong American on a Team USA gymnastics team, per the Journal, which says her victory came after "three surreal days that saw the greatest ever gymnast withdraw and completely upend expectations of how the event would unfold." Lee battled her way to the top podium despite a series of setbacks, including an ankle injury during the pandemic. When Biles dropped out of the team competition on Tuesday, Lee was forced to compete in the floor exercise, which wasn't in the plan (she hadn't even done a warmup for it), and she did her hardest bars routine to help her team make up for Biles' absence. Team USA ended up earning the silver. (More Tokyo Olympics stories.)

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