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 Artistic Gymnastics Championships, which start 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, Sunisa was part of the American contingency that earned gold in the team event; individually, she took home silver medals in the junior division's vault, balance beam, and floor exercise events. 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 the balance beam.
In her senior debut, at the 2019 City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy, Sunisa proved that she could already compete with the best, winning gold in the team, all-around, uneven bars, and floor events, along with a bronze on the 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, bronze on the floor, and silver in the all-around, finishing just behind Simone.
At the trials for the world championships, 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 St. Paul Pioneer Press following nationals, Sunisa 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," she said. It looks like she's well on her way! Ahead, you can check out some of Sunisa's best moments so far, as she preps for the biggest test of her career.