Gymnast Suni Lee came bearing gifts for her loved ones upon her return from the Tokyo Olympics. Those gifts, of course, were her three Olympic medals.
Sunisa “Suni” Lee had three special souvenirs for her family when she returned home from the Tokyo Olympics. The 18-year-old gymnast reunited with her loved ones in the U.S. on Aug. 4, and they all posed for a sweet family photo in which Suni and her parents each showed off the three medals she won. Suni held up her bronze medal from the uneven bars, her mother Yeev Thoj showed off the athlete’s silver medal that Team USA won in the team all-around, and her father John Lee donned his daughter’s gold medal as champion of the individual all-around. Suni’s siblings were also present in the photo, which the Olympian captioned with a heart emoji.
Suni reunited with her family in NYC on the Today Show on Thursday morning, and it was an emotional moment for all. “I haven’t seen them in so long. To see them here with me in New York is absolutely amazing,” Suni told Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie. “I feel so proud. I’m so happy to see them,” she added. Suni then wrapped her gold medal around the neck of her father, who was left paralyzed after he fell from a ladder in 2019.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 5, 2021
Suni’s family said they were so proud of what the teenager accomplished in Tokyo. “I never thought I would ever get one of these,” John said of the gold medal, adding, “She did it, she brought it home. I’m so proud of her, so surprised. Good job.” Meanwhile, Yeev described her emotion as “happy tears” for Suni’s success. “Seeing her with the gold medal, winning these medals, it makes me happy,” the proud mom said.
Suni won her gold medal in the women’s individual all-around on July 29. Her family sadly could not be there in Tokyo due to COVID-19 restrictions, but they did watch the amazing moment at a viewing party in Oakdale, Minnesota with around 300 to 400 fans from the Hmong American community. The group’s huge celebration for Suni, who is the first Hmong American Olympian, after she won the gold medal went viral on social media. Suni herself watched the video and responded on Twitter, “the people i do it all for. I LOVE YOU ALL.”
The Olympic athlete has maintained a close bond with her family. Her dad John would always give her pep talks before her meets, and that was no different even after his tragic 2019 accident. “When I get so angry at myself, I look at Sunisa and think about what she has had to go through to get to where she’s at, and she inspires me,” John told ESPN in July. After Suni officially signed to Auburn University in Nov. 2020, the soon-to-be college freshman thanked her parents “for giving up everything for me and being my biggest supporters through everything.”