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'Holy smokes!' Minnesota reacts to Suni Lee's big Olympic finish

Social media is bursting with posts expressing pride in St. Paul's home-grown gymnast following her gold medal win in Tokyo.

ST PAUL, Minn. — The slipper fits her perfectly.

Minnesota's Suni Lee truly is the Cinderella story of the Tokyo Olympics, the first American of Hmong descent to not only make the women's gymnastics team, but win gold in the all-around. 

She grew up in St. Paul as part of a hard working and close-knit family, a child who leaned on her father John for both support and inspiration. 

“Me and my dad definitely have the closest bond out of everyone in my family,” Sunisa told KARE 11's Boyd Huppert back in 2019 as she pursued her Olympic dream.

So it is nothing short of amazing that Suni was able to reach that dream, despite a terrible accident that left John Lee paralyzed from the waist down. Despite his medical struggles, John pushed her to keep competing, and now... after a pressure-packed performance in Tokyo... she is officially the best all-around gymnast in the world.  

Moments after the scores were tallied and Lee was declared the winner, social media flipped with post after post congratulating Suni and celebrating her victory.

She was widely considered America's second-best gymnast, but when Simone Biles pulled herself from the competition earlier this week citing mental health struggles, Lee stepped squarely into the spotlight and carried the load for her team, country and community. 

A huge watch party of extended family, friends and her gymnastics community gathering in Oakdale Thursday morning exploded the moment she was declared the Olympic gold medal winner. 

Governor Tim Walz was quickly on his Twitter account, hailing Suni and reflecting Minnesota Pride. 


From NBC Olympics: Suni Lee earns a huge score of 15.300 in the uneven bars during the individual all-around final.