Skip to main content

Motivation from parents fuels Suni Lee at U.S. World Championships

Lee is second in the all-around competition behind superstar Simone Biles.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
Suni Lee

St. Paul gymnast Suni Lee is putting on a show at the U.S. Gymnastics Championship this weekend but her biggest storyline may be what's happening in the stands.

Lee's parents, Houa John Lee and Yeev Thoj, were able to see her compete in person for the first time in three years as Lee used a difficult uneven bars routine to currently place second in the all-around competition.

Lee's path to the U.S. Championships has been filled with adversity. In August of 2019, her father fell off a ladder and injured his spinal cord, leaving him partially paralyzed. 

Suni Lee decided to go to nationals later that year and finished second in the all-around competition to Biles. At the world championships in October, she won a silver medal on floor exercise and a bronze on the uneven bars to go with a team gold medal with the U.S. national team.

With a spot on the U.S. national team within range, Lee injured her ankle and was limited to the uneven bars and beam in three earlier meets this season.

To build confidence for the Olympic trials in two weeks, Lee is thriving in her first all-around competition of 2021 at the U.S. Championships. Her score of 57.350 trails only Simone Biles (59.550) who is looking for her seventh U.S. all-around championship.

Lee's performance on the uneven bars is what has set her apart in the competition, posting a 15.300 on Saturday. The score is the highest on the bars and second-highest of any event, trailing Biles 15.800 score on the vault.

While the score puts her in a great position on Sunday's competition, it means even more with her parents making the 16-hour trip to the championships.

"It means a lot," John Lee told USA Today. "Especially now that Sunisa is getting close to the end of her (elite) gymnastics career and ... I’m able to come and watch it. It means a great deal."

Next Up

Monti Ossenfort

Vikings lead off general manager interviews with Monti Ossenfort

Several candidates will interview for the job this week.

Payton Willis

Gophers' rally comes up short, lose to Iowa

The Gophers came back from a 23-point deficit but couldn't complete the comeback.


Firefighters respond to smoke-filled cabin to find man asleep inside

A wood stove was determined to be the cause of the smoke.

snow plow msp airport

MSP snowplow drivers reach contract agreement after threatening strike

Teamsters Local 320 reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Airports Commission Saturday.

Kellen Moore

What you should know about the Vikings' head coach candidates

Seven candidates were revealed on Saturday morning.

20211010_Vikings_Lions_REG05_1119 (2)

What is the next Minnesota Vikings GM inheriting?

A look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings' roster and situation


Man dies after being 'punched in the head' during altercation in Duluth

A 46-year-old man is in custody and facing 1st-degree manslaughter charges.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders says Zimmer, Spielman hadn't spoken 'in months'

Sanders' comments revealed some of the Vikings' issues last season.

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.


Suni Lee

Suni Lee, Shane Wiskus solidify bids for U.S. Olympic gymnastics team

Roseville native Mason Ferlic also qualified for Tokyo in track and field.

Screen Shot 2021-06-20 at 9.21.00 AM

Updates on Minnesotans bidding for spots at the Summer Olympics

St. Paul's Suni Lee could qualify for the U.S. gymnastics team this week.

suni lee

Watch: Suni Lee reunites with family after winning 3 Olympic medals

Suni said she wouldn't be where she is today without her family.

suni lee

St. Paul's Suni Lee named to Time's list of 100 Most Influential People

Lee won three medals at the Tokyo Olympics, including an all-around gold.