16-Year-Old Gymnast Sunisa Lee May Just Be Team USA's Secret Weapon at Worlds
Sunisa Lee is one of five American gymnasts who will join Simone Biles at the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships starting Oct. 4, and though she's only been competing at the senior level for one season, you'll want to remember her name.
The 16-year-old gymnast had a stellar year as a junior in 2018. At the Pacific Rim Championships, Suni was part of the American contingency that earned gold in the team final; individually, she took home the silver medal in the junior division's vault, balance beam, and floor exercise finals. That same year, she won the all-around bronze medal at the US Gymnastics Championships, as well as gold on the uneven bars and silver on balance beam.
In her senior debut, at the 2019 City of Jesolo Trophy, Suni proved that she could already compete with the best, winning gold in the team, all-around, bars, and floor events, along with an individual bronze on balance beam. Though she struggled a bit through the rest of the season, she rebounded at the 2019 US Gymnastics Championships, where she won three medals: gold on the uneven bars and bronze on floor, as well as silver in the all-around, finishing just behind Simone.
At the World Championship trials, she placed second overall again, earning a spot on the team alongside Simone, Jade Carey, Kara Eaker, MyKayla Skinner, and Grace McCallum.
In an interview with the Pioneer Press following nationals, Suni explained her lifelong love of gymnastics, describing herself as a hyper kid. "It just came natural to me. I don't really know how to explain it," she said. "I was always jumping on the bed or having my dad spot me while I was doing backflips and stuff like that. Finally, my mom got tired of it, and she knew a friend that was friends with someone at Midwest Gymnastics. That's kind of how I got my start." She went on to say that she idolized the Fierce Five who competed in the 2012 London Olympics: "That was when I decided I really wanted to be an Olympian." It looks like she's well on her way! Ahead, you can check out some of Suni's best moments so far, as she preps for the biggest test of her career.