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Hmong-American Sunisa Lee wins gold for team USA

Congratulations to American gymnast 18-year-old Sunisa Lee for winning gold in women’s all-around gymnastics. She edged out Brazilian Rebeca Andrade and became only the sixth American gymnast to win gold, reports ESPN. Lee scored 57.43, followed by Andrade who scored 57.29 for the silver, while Russian Angelina Melnikova scored 57.19 for bronze.

Sunisa Lee is the first Hmong-American to represent and win gold for Team USA. Both her parents, Yeev Thoj and John Lee were born in Laos and fled the country as children during the Vietnam War. The two settled in Minnesota but did not know each other until later on in life. When they met each other as adults, Lee already had two children and Thoj was a single mother with Sunisa. Lee became Sunisa’s father and Sunisa changed her last name to Lee even though Lee and Thoj aren’t married.

Sunisa started training in gymnastics when she was 6-years-old. Her father Lee built a wooden balance beam for her because they couldn’t afford one. But it paid off in full with Lee winning Gold and making her parents and the large Hmong community in Minnesota proud.

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