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Olympic champion Suni Lee surprises students at St. Paul elementary school

Olympic champion Suni Lee surprises students at St. Paul elementary school

Olympic gold medalist and international celebrity, gymnast Sunisa Lee paid a special visit Thursday to St. Paul’s Battle Creek Elementary, where she was once a student.

The school’s leaders invited students to the school’s gymnasium for a back-to-school donation event. Principal Kristen Longway told them there would be a special guest, but it wasn’t until all the kids were sitting on the floor, that the star gymnast was introduced.

The winner of the women’s gymnastics all-around title at the Tokyo Olympics surprised the young fans.

Lee, who’s currently studying business marketing at Auburn University, where she is a sophomore, took time to talk to students and pose with them for photos.

“The community has really helped me realize my passion as an athlete and a gymnast …I’m especially proud of the Hmong community,” Lee told the audience.

Kaylah Morris, 11, admires Lee.

“I’m in gymnastics and I really want to go to the Olympics or at least college gymnastics,” she said.

Lee also reconnected with old teachers and coaches at the school, saying they pushed her to do more. They knew she wanted to compete in the Olympics.

“We were just talking about it. I was like, ‘Yeah, you always used to make me climb the rope, even when I wasn’t at practice or you used to make me do more pull-ups than everybody else.’”

Lee has also thrilled collegiate audiences with her performance on Auburn’s gymnastics team. She hasn’t yet decided whether she’ll aim for the Olympics in 2024.

“As of right now, I’m just kind of going with the flow, seeing what my body can do, what my mind can do just because the last Olympics was kind of very hard on my body and my mental [wellbeing]. And I’m just trying to take it day by day.”