Thursday, December 9

Suni Lee takes his place alongside the all-time greats of Team USA with the gold medal at the Olympics

The US women’s gymnastics program continued its Olympic dominance on Thursday when a new champion emerged at the Ariake Gymnastics Center in Tokyo. Suni Lee won a close battle in the women’s final to take home the gold medal, the first of her young Olympic career.

Lee edged Rebeca Andrade from Brazil by just 0.135 points in the final rankings and had two other gymnasts, Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova from the Russian Olympic Committee, within 0.5 points. It took great efforts on the beam and the floor in the last two rotations to win, but ultimately, the Minnesota Hmong-American sealed the deal.

That wasn’t the only story Lee made. She was also able to keep intact a streak of American gymnasts that is almost as old as she is.

MORE: Simone Biles Out of the Olympics? Latest updates after the star’s retirement

Lee, 18, became the fifth consecutive winner of the American gold medal in the women’s Olympic competition. She joined a historic list of the best gymnasts in Team USA history in her victory, which are as follows:

  • Carly Patterson (2004)
  • Nastia Liukin (2008)
  • Gabby Douglas (2012)
  • Simon Biles (2016)

Lee also became the third consecutive American woman of color to take home gold, following in the footsteps of Douglas and Biles.

Lee was expected to compete for a medal at the Olympics after finishing third overall behind Biles and Andrade. However, Biles’s withdrawal from general competition gave Lee a legitimate shot at gold that he was otherwise unlikely to have. And with Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time, ahead of her, Lee represented the best chance for Team USA to win a gold medal in every respect. She delivered.

MORE: Aly Raisman, Others Congratulate Lee

Despite Biles’ absence, Lee had a difficult road to victory. He was under pressure to keep Team USA’s streak alive and had to avoid tough competition. That’s part of the reason why Lee’s win over Andrade was the closest of Team USA’s five straight wins.

YearWinnerRunner-upMargin of victory
2004Carly pattersonSvetlana Khorkina (Russia)0.176
2008Nastia liukinShawn Johnson (United States)0.6
2012Gabby douglasVictoria Komova (Russia)0.259
2016Simone bilesAly Raisman (United States)2.1
2021Suni leeRebeca Andrade (Brazil)0.135

In fact, of the six gold medals that Team USA won, only Mary Lou Retton’s victory in 1984 was decided by a smaller margin than Lee’s. Retton won that final by 0.05 points. Lee’s gold medal also marked the closest final in gymnastics since Shannon Miller (USA) lost gold to Tatiana Gutsu (Unified Team) by 0.012 points during the 1992 Olympics.

Lee has already made history, and now hopes to contribute to his legacy in the coming week. She will participate in the individual event finals on the uneven bars and the balance beam on August 1 and 3, respectively. She already has two medals to her name, one overall gold and one silver in team competition, and if she can win a couple more, she could position herself as one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time once the Olympics roll around. from 2024. around.

Either way, she has already placed herself among the pantheon of great American gymnasts with her gold in every way.

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