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Olympic Gold Medalist and College Student
Sunisa Lee is a nineteen year old gymnast and freshman at Auburn University. In honor of women’s history month, which is in March, this week I wanted to highlight women in sports. Lee is an accomplished athlete who is able to balance her academics and sports practice on top of winning in the Olympics. She was born March 9th, 2003 in Minnesota to her mom and dad who are both of Hmong descent. Her parents migrated to the United States before she was born and settled down in Saint Paul.
Powerful since Childhood
Gymnastics came naturally to Lee, as she began taking lessons in 2009 and promptly won a state title the following year in 2010. She began winning meet after meet for the next few years, racking up an impressive resume. At only eight years old, she advanced three levels and continued to flourish in the sport. But, her life was not always riddled with accomplishments. Sunisa Lee suffered many tragedies throughout her childhood, which only pushed her to compete to the best of her abilities. In 2019, a few days before Lee was set to compete in her very first USA Gymnastics National Championships, her father suffered an accident on a ladder paralyzing him. The following year, the COVID pandemic broke out and her uncle was one of the thousands who lost their lives contracting the virus.
Prevailing through Tragedy
Despite all the hardships she has faced, Lee managed to come out on top and win a gold medal in the winter olympics; she fought tremendously hard for her many wins. In light of her accomplishments during the olympics, the governor of Minnesota and the governor of St. Paul both declared Friday, June 30th, to be ‘Sunisa Lee Day.’ Lee was also awarded the Asia Game Changer Award for competing with grace under pressure.
Sunisa in 2022
This year Lee has competed in many gymnastics meets as an Auburn Tiger. She has scored perfect 10’s on two of her routines this season, and Auburn placed third in the NCAA Championship. Lee has been working hard in school and on the floor in the new year. She has been a key player on the team this year and has been a beneficial factor in leading her team to many wins.
How Sunisa represents the Women’s History Month Message
I know it’s past Women’s History month, but I feel Sunisa embraces everything it means to be a powerful woman in the sports industry, and she deserves recognition even after the month is over. From a young age she has overcome countless obstacles to become the athlete she is today. Sunisa has worked hard in her 19 years of life to gain the success she now has. After years of dedication to her sport, Sunisa has remained a huge symbol of female empowerment in gymnastics and an inspiration to so many young athletes.
For more about empowering women in sports, read and learn more about Brittney Griner and her journey to try and get back home.