16-Year-Old Gymnast Becomes the First Hmong American to Join Team USA

At 16-year-old, Sunisa Lee has already made history by becoming the first Hmong American gymnast to be part of Team USA.

Lee made the national gymnastics team this weekend by placing second, behind first-place finisher Simone Biles, at the US Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City, according to Team USA.

If she eventually makes the Olympic team in 2020 in Tokyo, she will also become the first American of Hmong origin to do so. 

“It’s crazy. I never thought that I could be that good,” Lee was quoted as saying. “So when I saw that (finishing 2nd), I was just shocked and I didn’t know what to do. My coach, he always says, yeah, you can be second, but I never believe him. I guess he’s right this time.”

 

Lee, who began training at age 6, developed her aspirations to be an Olympian in her pre-teen years upon making it into an elite program.

Despite suffering an ankle injury earlier this year, she was able to bounce back and make the commendable second-place finish in the national championships.  

 

The fact that it was the first Nationals competition she ever participated in makes her accomplishment even more impressive. 

“That kind of boosts my confidence a little bit because then I know I can compete with everybody else also trying for worlds,” Lee added.

Team coordinator Tom Forster praised the young gymnast for her fluid movement.

“She moves so fluidly – sequential movement for her is so beautiful,” said Forster. “She’s a really beautiful gymnast.”

Featured image via Instagram/sunisalee

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