In the midst of what has been a dramatic gymnastic Olympic competition, Suni Lee has risen as 2021’s American all-around champion.
Lee performed incredibly in the individual all-around competition and was able to narrowly pull ahead of Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade to win the gold.
The win comes amidst a tumultuous Olympic competition for TeamUSA after their captain, Simone Biles, withdrew from the Olympics midway through the teams competition. After dominating the gymnastic golds at Rio 2016, Biles was assumed to be the frontrunner at this year’s Tokyo games.
Simone Biles withdrew from the competition for mental health reasons.
At the all-around competition, Suni Lee came to the floor routine needing a huge score to put her ahead. She needed a 13.467 to top the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Angela Melnikova and Lee was able to bag an incredible 13.700.
The athletes then waited to watch the final routine of the day by Brazilian Andrade. However, Andrade had two slip ups that stopped her from gaining the big score she needed to win. She scored a 13.666, which got raised slightly after she raised an inquiry with the judges.
In the end, it was not enough to take the gold from Lee as Andrade settled for silver.
The final scores were Lee’s 57.433; Andrade’s 57.298; and Melnikova’s 57.199.
This is Lee’s first Olympic gold medal. She received a silver medal earlier in the week for the all-around teams competition.
Lee, and teammate Jade Carey, received a lot of the attention at the competition after they had to step up and perform following Simone Biles’ exit.
Carey performed courageously and earned the highest vault score with 15.200. Overall, she finished 8th.
Tweeting earlier in the week, Lee said “never been prouder to be apart of such an amazing team with an amazing group of girls. We stepped up when we needed to and did this for ourselves. We do not owe anyone a gold medal, we are WINNERS in our hearts.”