In case you missed it, Sunisa Lee, a Hmong American from Minnesota, won the Gymnastics All Round medal at the Tokyo Olympics. After Simone Biles withdrew, the pressure was intense on the 18 year old to continue the United States streak of gold medals in the all around competition. Lee edged out second place Brazillian Rebeca Andrade by .135 points.
Pressure is not unknown to Lee, as you can see from the video above. While there have been other Olympic level Asian American gymnasts such as Amy Chow, Lee doesn’t come from a well off family. At left, you can see her practicing on the home made balance beam in her backyard that her father made. Tragedy has touched her family – her father was paralyzed in an accident, she lost an aunt and an uncle to COVID-19. Like other Asian American Olympians, she and her community is dealing with anti-Asian hate.
I think her victory is incredibly timely. It serves as a reminder that Asian Americans are truly Americans and can represent the United States with competence, grace, and perservence.