Sunisa Lee traveled to Japan in order to win a medal of gold. She did. But not the one she wanted.
The Minnesota-born 18-year old is a star on uneven bars. Her routines consist of intricate connections and releases that she completes with such ease it seems like she’s doing it all on her own.
She is not. She has been hard at work for years to achieve her mastery. She is one of the top athletes in the world at it.
She wasn’t right three days later and with a lot of fame behind her, it was clear that she wasn’t right. She admitted that she was distracted by the spotlight surrounding her victory. Connections that normally come so easily during Sunday’s event finals were not made, if any. She was disappointed with the bronze medal finish.
Yes, that all-round title is fantastic. It will be her constant companion throughout her entire life. The bars are her thing. The long-awaited showdown with Nina Derwael, Belgium’s star, never happened. Lee led off in a stunning blue, crystal-laden leotard for the eight-woman final. She knew mid-routine that it was not good enough to make the podium before her 14.500 scoreboard flashed.
Lee said, “Bars is something that I really cherish,” while she was wearing shoes borrowed by Jade Carey, an American teammate. She had forgotten the U.S. uniforms back at her hotel. It really hurts when I make mistakes.
Lee’s definitions of “messing it up” are different from most others. She was able to claim the bronze and all-around silver in the team competition, giving her an entire rainbow of Olympic bling.
It is impressive. She also didn’t come here to see it.
Lee stated, “It’s really awesome.” “I wish the bronze medal were a (balance beam) medal and not bars.”
Lee will have a chance to increase her collection in Tuesday’s beam final. It would surprise me if there was a medal. One on bars was almost a given. She didn’t perform while earning one, even though she did. She believes her inability to get off her phone for the last few days was partly to blame.
In the 10 days since the Games started, her popularity has skyrocketed. She has 950,000 Instagram followers, an amazing 390% increase and 365,000 more since last Thursday.
When you are atop the podium after an Olympic marquee event, it is a common occurrence. It was something she didn’t expect. She expected to be competing for silver with Simone Biles, her teammate. Lee performed with grace and grit when the 2016 Olympic champion pulled out from the all-around final.
Two-plus days have passed since her victory and there has been an explosion of social media mentions and interviews. It’s quite a lot. It’s probably too much at the moment. Lee believes she may delete Twitter until the competition is over.
Belgia’s first ever gold medal in women’s gymnastics was awarded to Derwael by the International Olympic Committee. It was the final bit of history after a long night.
Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat won the floor exercise, giving Israel only its second ever gold medal in the Summer Games. Andrade, second to Lee in all-around, provided Brazil’s first gymnastics gold. After finishing second to Max Whitlock, a two-time Olympic champion from Britain, Lee Chih-Kai won silver on pommel horse for Taiwan.
Andrade’s impressive vault display is even more remarkable considering that she has already had three knee reconstructions and wasn’t eligible for the Games until June. It seems like she is being lifted from her vaulting block so much that it makes it seem as though she’s being dropped from the Ariake Gymnastics Centre podium.
Andrade, 22, said that she didn’t know what to do and couldn’t see herself on the podium. “I feel like I have matured a lot. “I got better from my injuries.”
Andrade’s 15.083 average placed her just ahead MyKayla skinner. After Biles’ decision to withdraw, the 24-year-old American wasn’t sure if she would be competing in Saturday’s finals. After drilling her Cheng and Amanar, she said good-bye to the sport at the medal stand. Skinner, who is already married, has decided to retire.
It was a great way to get out. After three years of competing at Utah collegiately, she entered the elite world two years ago. After battling COVID-19 pneumonia and being unable to qualify for finals, she thought she was headed home. Biles advised her to stay because she wasn’t certain she would be able to compete.
Skinner heard Biles’ voice over the noise during the finals and urged Skinner to a podium finish that she might have only seen when she made her return official at the 2019 U.S. Championships.
Skinner stated, “It’s cool to show that age doesn’t matter and that you can achieve anything if your work hard and dreams for it.” “I’m so proud that I didn’t give up on my dreams and kept working for them.