Simone Biles sends Sunisa Lee supportive message after winning gold medal at Tokyo Olympics
29th July 2021

Simone Biles has posted a tribute to Sunisa Lee after the fellow Team USA gymnast secured the top spot on the podium after the Tokyo Olympics gymnastics all-around event.

Lee, 18, won the gold medal in the final and was greeted with a message of support from her teammate on Instagram.

Biles, 24, posted a photo of herself and her teammate with the caption, “CONGRATS PRINCESS…OLYMPIC CHAMPION RIGHT HERE !!! So so so beyond proud of you!!!!”

Lee also spoke about what her victory meant to her to reporters.

“It feels crazy, it is so surreal,” Lee said. “It’s a dream come true. I don’t even know what to say. It hasn’t even sunk in. … The past two years with Covid have been crazy. There was one point I wanted to quit. To be here and to be an Olympic gold medallist is just crazy.”

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Lee’s presence at the games was already precedent breaking as she was the first Hmong-American Olympic participant. Her parents fled the war in Laos in the 1970s with their families as children. She is from Minnesota, where friends and family cheered her on during the competition.

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Biles, the most decorated American gymnast of all time, withdrew from the Olympics on 27 July after saying that she needed to listen to her body. She spoke about getting the “twisties” before she performed her routine – a feeling of discombobulation while spinning in the air.

“Simply, your life is in danger when you’re doing gymnastics,” Sean Melton told The Washington Post. “And then, when you add this unknown of not being able to control your body while doing these extremely dangerous skills, it adds an extreme level of stress. And it’s terrifying, honestly, because you have no idea what is going to happen.”

“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many,” read a statement from Team USA Gymnastics after he decision to leave the competition.

Biles has been met with both criticism and acclaim for her decision to leave the Olympics, however, she thanked everyone who offered kind words on 28 July.

She tweeted, “The outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”

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