Meet Sunisa 'Suni' Lee, the 18-year-old gymnast who kept Team USA's individual all-around gold-medal streak alive

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Meet Sunisa 'Suni' Lee, the 18-year-old gymnast who kept Team USA's individual all-around gold-medal streak alive
  • Sunisa "Suni" Lee is the women's gymnastics individual all-around champion after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.
  • The 18-year-old Team USA superstar found a path to the top of the podium after women's gymnastics GOAT Simone Biles withdrew from the event due to mental health concerns.
  • Lee posted an impressive 14.6 on the vault, 15.3 on the uneven bars, 13.833 on the balance beam, and a 13.7 on the floor exercise to narrowly edge out Brazil's Rebeca Andrade for gold.
  • Here's everything you need to know about the newly-crowned individual all-around champion:

Meet Sunisa Lee, your women's gymnastics individual all-around champion.

Meet Sunisa Lee, your women's gymnastics individual all-around champion.
Sunisa Lee of Team USA celebrates after winning gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic s Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Lee, who goes by "Suni," won gold in Thursday's women's gymnastics individual all-around final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Lee, who goes by "Suni," won gold in Thursday's women's gymnastics individual all-around final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sunisa Lee. Gregory Bull/Associated Press
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The 18-year-old's path to gold opened up considerably when Simone Biles, the American superstar and most decorated gymnast of all time, pulled out of the competition due to mental health concerns.

The 18-year-old's path to gold opened up considerably when Simone Biles, the American superstar and most decorated gymnast of all time, pulled out of the competition due to mental health concerns.
Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Read more: Simone Biles realized she was mentally 'not there' at the Olympics, prompting her exit from the team all-around final

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Biles' withdrawal put the United States' longtime dominance in the event into doubt, but Lee got the job done in spectacular fashion to become the fifth-straight American to win the all-around.

Biles' withdrawal put the United States' longtime dominance in the event into doubt, but Lee got the job done in spectacular fashion to become the fifth-straight American to win the all-around.
Sunisa Lee won gold for Team USA in all-around gymnastics Jamie Squire / Getty Images
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She posted an impressive 14.6 on the vault to start off the day strong.

She posted an impressive 14.6 on the vault to start off the day strong.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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Then she moved to the uneven bars - by far her strongest apparatus - and excelled for a competition-best 15.3.

Then she moved to the uneven bars - by far her strongest apparatus - and excelled for a competition-best 15.3.
USA's Sunisa Lee reacts after competing in the uneven bars event of the artistic gymnastics women's team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images
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Despite watching many of her competitors waver on the balance beam, Lee maintained her composure and earned a solid 13.833.

Despite watching many of her competitors waver on the balance beam, Lee maintained her composure and earned a solid 13.833.
TOKYO, JAPAN JULY 27, 2021: Sunisa Lee of the United States performs her balance beam routine during the women's artistic gymnastics team all-around final at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre. Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images
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And she rounded out the stellar showing with a floor exercise worthy of gold.

And she rounded out the stellar showing with a floor exercise worthy of gold.
Sunisa Lee competes in the floor exercise. Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
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All in all, Lee posted a 57.433to narrowly edge out Brazil's Rebeca Andrade for the top spot.

All in all, Lee posted a 57.433to narrowly edge out Brazil's Rebeca Andrade for the top spot.
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
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With the win, Lee - already the first Hmong American to compete in the Olympic Games - became the community's first gold-medal winner.

With the win, Lee - already the first Hmong American to compete in the Olympic Games - became the community's first gold-medal winner.
The US has won the event at every Olympics since 2004 Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The St. Paul, Minnesota, native is the daughter of immigrants.

The St. Paul, Minnesota, native is the daughter of immigrants.
REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
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Both of her parents moved to the United States from Laos as children.

Both of her parents moved to the United States from Laos as children.
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Source: ESPN

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Her grandfather, Cher Yee Lee, fought alongside the US military in the Vietnam War before permanently moving to the States.

Her grandfather, Cher Yee Lee, fought alongside the US military in the Vietnam War before permanently moving to the States.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Source: ESPN

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She began participating in gymnastics at 6 years old.

She began participating in gymnastics at 6 years old.
REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
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And some 10 years later, she competed in her first senior USA Gymnastics National Championships while grappling with a familial tragedy.

And some 10 years later, she competed in her first senior USA Gymnastics National Championships while grappling with a familial tragedy.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Source: USA Today

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Just days before the competition, Lee's father fell off a ladder while helping a friend and injured his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed.

Just days before the competition, Lee's father fell off a ladder while helping a friend and injured his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Source: USA Today

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He still uses a wheelchair but has slowly regained some of his mobility.

 

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Suni's big win on Thursday gives the young star her second Olympic medal.

Suni's big win on Thursday gives the young star her second Olympic medal.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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She led Team USA to silver in the team all-around, remaining unruffled - or at least appeared to in her performances - following Biles' unexpected departure.

She led Team USA to silver in the team all-around, remaining unruffled - or at least appeared to in her performances - following Biles' unexpected departure.
Simone Biles and Team USA pose with their silver medals from the team all-around competition. AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
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And she has a chance to win two more medals as she competes in the individual apparatus finals for the uneven bars and balance beam.

And she has a chance to win two more medals as she competes in the individual apparatus finals for the uneven bars and balance beam.
Sunisa Lee competes in the individual all-around at the Tokyo Olympics. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
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After the Olympics, Lee is committed to attend Auburn University and compete for the school's gymnastics program.

After the Olympics, Lee is committed to attend Auburn University and compete for the school's gymnastics program.
REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
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