Family and friends host Olympic send-off for St. Paul’s Suni Lee

Sunisa Lee's family hosted a Olympics send-off party at her St. Paul home Saturday. 

From St. Paul, Minnesota to St. Louis for the Olympic Trials, 18-year-old Suni Lee has twisted and turned her way into the history books as the first Hmong American to compete for Team USA in gymnastics. 

"I know that when she made it, we were all in tears, cheering for her," said Suni’s mom, Yeev Thoj. 

The next stop for Lee is Tokyo, and on Saturday, her family and friends gathered to send her off in style. People were able to write their wishes for Suni, or pick up a shirt to show their support. 

"I wrote on here, ‘Go Suni! Represent the Hmong people, good luck!,'" said Elliott Vang. 

Suni’s parents aren’t able to go to Tokyo to see her compete in person because of the pandemic, so they’ll be cheering her on from Minnesota. 

Her mom may be watching the whole thing through her hands, though. 

"When she does her routine, I usually hold my breath. I really don’t like to watch it," said Thoj. 

Suni’s dad, John Lee, says he always knew she was a star, but the fact that’s she’s headed to the Olympics is still a bit unbelievable. 

"I knew that she had something special...I always push her to do her best, but we didn’t expect that she would actually do it," said Lee. 

Suni wasn’t able to make it to the celebration because she is training six days a week for the Olympics and can’t be exposed to large groups due to COVID-19. 

The gymnastics portion of the competition is scheduled to start on July 23rd.