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Sunisa Lee Becomes First Hmong American to Win Individual Olympic Gold

Lee’s victory also solidifies a U.S. dynasty in the women’s gymnastics all-around event

Gymnast Sunisa Lee won the individual all-around competition in Tokyo on Tuesday, becoming the first Asian-American Olympic all-around champion ever.

Lee hails from St. Paul, Minnesota and is of Hmong descent. Last Tuesday, Lee helped propel Team USA gymnastics to a silver medal, stepping in to compete in the floor event for Simone Biles, after she pulled herself out of competition to focus on her mental health.

Lee secured the individual gold with a score of 57.433, 0.135 points ahead of Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade, despite trailing her initially. It was Lee’s turn on the uneven bars that helped her secure the win, as she notched a 15.3, which put her only 0.066 behind Andrade. It was Lee’s beam routine — during which former Team USA gymnast Laurie Hernandez noted that Lee threw a stunt that Hernandez would never try “with my own free will” for how terrifying it is — that moved her into first place.

You can watch that here:

Naturally, Lee’s teammates were in the stands cheering her on the whole way through.

Lee’s win was extra emotional for her family, who couldn’t be in Tokyo to support their daughter. Days before the national championships in 2019, Lee’s father was partially paralyzed after falling off a ladder while cutting down a tree.

Of course, they watched her from afar, and went absolutely wild when she won. Watch that reaction below:

Lee’s win also solidifies a US dynasty in the Olympic event. For the last five Olympics, the gymnastics all-around champion has been an American, starting with Carly Patterson in 2004.