As Team USA’s Suni Lee prepared to take the beam in the women’s individual all-around gymnastics final, she returned to her mantra: “nothing more, nothing less.”
Lee, who took home the gold to become the fifth straight American to win the Olympic title after reigning champion Simone Biles withdrew, explained the mantra in an interview with Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “TODAY” show.
“My normal is good enough,” Lee said. “I just have to do what I normally do.”
The 18-year-old Hmong American from Minnesota became the first Asian American woman to win gold in the Olympics’ all-around competition.
The Hmong community in Minnesota “sacrificed a lot” for her, Lee said, including fundraisers. When her family could not afford one, her father built a beam in their backyard — something Lee said they “cherished.”
“If I wasn’t in the gym I was always outside on the beam doing extra things because I didn’t want to get behind,” Lee said. “He would watch me and try and coach me even though he didn’t know what he was talking about,” Lee said.
While her family could not physically watch Lee in Tokyo, they gathered for a watch party, erupting at the announcement that Lee’s 57.44 score had claimed the top spot.
“Right before the medal ceremony I FaceTimed my sister, and everybody in the camera was just screaming and crying and I was just like, ‘I did it,’ and we just had this little moment where it was just like, ‘We did it,’ she said.
The Games are far from over for Lee, who also won a silver medal in the team final. She is expected to compete for titles in the bars and beam next week. While she said she’s nervous for the remaining events, she feels prepared.