Suni Lee's 'proud' parents hail Olympic gold

Family and friends leapt to their feet, Thursday, as they watched Minnesota’s Sunisa Lee claim the coveted all-around gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics gymnastics competition.

The 18-year-old’s history-making moment arrived sooner than was widely expected after her teammate Simone Biles - winner of every all-around competition she entered since 2013 - dropped out of the event this week to focus on her mental health.

After a solid floor exercise in the final rotation, Lee received a total score of 57.433… clinching gold.

She told reporters (quote) "Coming into this competition I didn’t even think that I could be competing for a gold medal… I was coming to compete for a silver medal… I knew that I just had to stay focused. I wasn’t trying to worry about the scores at all.”

But back in Oakdale, Minnesota, Lee’s mom Yeev Thoj said she believed it was her daughter’s time to shine:

"In my heart I say ‘Sunisa Lee is next in line.’ In my heart I told myself that. I hold back on that… that’s my thinking, my thought.”

Even so, Lee’s parents said the Olympic moment felt surreal:

“I tell you - I’m happy, I’m proud, but there is no words to describe how we feel right now.”

I’m still in shock."

And her Dad, John Lee, had a message for his daughter:

“All that hard work, all that broken bones, all that time you missed, vacationing with us - it paid off. And you did amazing and we're proud of you.”

As the marks flashed on the scoreboard, U.S. gymnasts in the Olympic stands leapt and cheered - just like Lee’s fans in Minnesota.

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