The joy American Olympic gymnast Suni Lee felt at winning a gold medal wasn’t just for herself or for her team – it was also for her father.
Sunisa “Suni” Lee won the gold medal in the all-around competition with a score of 57.44 – becoming the fifth straight U.S. gymnast to do so.
Lee spoke with Hoda Kotb from Today after her win, saying, “This is a crazy experience. Like it doesn't even feel like real life. I'm going to be like, 'Oh my gosh, am I an Olympic gold medalist?! No!"
Lee also shared how winning the gold was important to her because of how much her father, John Lee, had supported her and sacrificed for her to get to the Olympics.
“This has been our dream forever," Suni said. "I wish he was here. He always told me if I win the gold medal he would come out on the ground and do a backflip. It's sad that he can't be here, but this is our dream, and this our medal. We both worked for this. He sacrificed everything to put me in gymnastics. Both my parents really have. This is my family's medal, my medal. My coach's medal. He doesn't get a medal, so I'm dedicating it to all of them."
Lee was understandably nervous during the competition, especially when she entered the final event, the floor exercise, with only a slight lead over Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade.
“I was telling myself nothing more, nothing less, just do the same thing that I always do, telling myself to breathe because my heart was beating so fast," she said. "I was so nervous, I just tell myself to go out there and give it my all because at this point there’s no turning back."
Lee solidified her win with a floor exercise score of 13.700, resulting in a gold medal.
Lee’s parents watched her accomplish her dreams from back home in Minnesota. Her father John Lee spoke with Today on Thursday after Suni’s win.
John said, “I’m going to tell her I’m so proud of her. I want to tell her team that no matter what, you all support her and I want to tell Simone that she truly is the GOAT because she let my baby girl bring the gold medal."
Suni Lee’s gold medal adds to Team USA’s silver medal in the team competition. Suni said, "The silver medal [Tuesday] is something we're so proud of and now this one, I'm just like super proud. I didn't think I would be here ever, but this is a dream come true, and I've worked so hard for it."
Watch Suni Lee's balance beam and uneven bars routines below: