MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday is Suni Lee Day in Minnesota, and the state is celebrating its Olympic gold medalist.
The 18-year-old gymnast from St. Paul gained the ladies’s all-around gymnastic competitors on Thursday, changing into the primary Hmong American to take part in the summertime video games and win a gold medal.
Whereas her household wasn’t in a position to watch her in individual in Tokyo because of COVID-19 restrictions, they cheered and wept tears of pleasure as they watched her compete at a viewing social gathering in Oakdale, surrounded by associates and followers.
Lee’s Olympic story started on the Midwest Gymnastics Middle, the health club in Little Canada the place she began coaching at age 6. From the beginning, she confirmed promise.
Her first coach, Punnarith Koy, stated that he had hassle controlling his tears after he watched Lee develop into an Olympic champion.
“I got here to [the gym]…made eye contact with the opposite coach that noticed me undergo the whole evolution of Suni at a younger age, and we hugged, and we began speaking and I couldn’t management it,” he stated. “It was a really emotional time, very cathartic.”
Koy stated that he texted Lee after the all-around championships, telling her that her efficiency was nice. “I advised her that she was my hero,” he stated.
The Twin Cities have the best focus of Hmong residents within the U.S., at about 66,000. Many got here to Minnesota in 1975 after battle ravaged their homeland in Laos.
Hmong historical past might be traced again 1000’s of years in China. In reality, their farmers are credited with being among the many first to domesticate rice and unfold it all through Asia.
The Minnesota Historic Society has additional information on the legacy of Hmong in Minnesota.