“Happy Tears”: Sunisa Lee’s gold medal inspires joy at her home in Minnesota

Minneapolis (Associated Press)-There is a cheering, screaming and “tears of happiness” for themselves, and there is endless joy for a story that many people consider to be “only in America”.

Sunisa plum Won the women’s all-around gold medal in Tokyo Olympic Games On Thursday, the victory surprised the entire state of Minnesota, but it resonated with the state’s close Hmong American community, which is one of the largest Hmong communities in the United States.

“I can’t find the right words to express how happy we are and how important this is to me and my family and the entire Hmong community around the world,” John Lee, Now the father of one of the brightest lights in Tokyo told the Associated Press. “We never thought about gold, but she Passed. she done. “

That she Done, there are dozens more she Family and friends gathered in the activity center on the outskirts of Sao Paulo early in the morning to watch the gymnastics game broadcast from Tokyo.

Sunisa plum When the defending Olympic champion Simone Byers withdrew from the all-around competition to focus on her mental health, she got a vacancy.There was a nervous silence at the watching party because plum A wonderful performance was completed on the uneven bars, a tense performance was performed on the beam, and an excellent floor exercise was performed.

When Brazilian Rebeca Andrade (Rebeca Andrade) went out of bounds twice in the game, John Lee Say, everyone knows his The 18-year-old daughter will soon wear gold.

“Participating in the last game goes hand in hand, when she Pull it down, my heart, my goodness, is this really true? ” plum Say. “When we saw she I won, I can’t even find the right words to express how happy and proud I am she…I never cry, I try not to be in front of people, deep inside me, but I don’t want to show it to the world. …My daughter cried, my wife cried…Happy tears. “

When Puner Koy first came to the Midwestern Gymnastics team in the suburbs of St. Paul, Little Canada, she coached Sunisa Lee for several years, and she saw part of her performance at the viewing party. Then he had to leave to work in the gym. He said he could barely control his tears while driving. He recalled that she tried it when she was 6 years old and called her a “genius”.

“There is a huge talent right away, and you can see that the power-to-weight ratio is very obvious,” Coy said. “She has a certain degree of fearlessness towards her.”

Li learns very quickly. The coach said that she often learned skills from practice to practice on equipment on the same day.He described a special antenna on the beam made by Gaby Douglas at the 2012 London Olympics Olympic GamesLee copied it on a beam her father built in the courtyard of her home when she was 8 or 9 years old.

Also participating in the celebration was Sao Paulo State Representative Kaohly Vang Her, whose daughter Ayden Her trained with Lee on the Midwest gymnastics team for 10 years. She said the girls who have been united for many years are elite athletes-Aiden He will become a diver at the University of Minnesota this fall. But she said, Lee “is special from the moment you see her.”

Many Hmong who fought for the United States in Laos during the Vietnam War resettled in Minnesota. Patriotism is deeply rooted in the community, adding joy to Li’s success. She said it was because the Hmong were oppressed in all other countries where they lived, including Laos and China, and sought opportunities in the United States.

She said: “Every other Hmong who did something first is actually realizing the dream of our ancestors.”

Li Baoxiong, director of the Hmong Studies Center at Concordia University in Sao Paulo, pointed out that Li was the first Hmong American to participate in the Olympics. He said that the only Miao athlete to receive this honor was the gold medalist of the Chinese weightlifting team in 2008.

“You have a refugee child who represents the United States of America, so not only represents the United States, but also brings the focus to the Hmong community,” Xiong said. “Even if she said so proudly,’I am doing this for my community and I am doing this for my people’, she has not forgotten her Hmong.”

Lee’s progress highlights the cultural and intergenerational changes in American Hmong families. They have always emphasized that education is a way to get rid of poverty, and their emphasis on sports is low. But the Li family is an athlete. Her father served in the U.S. Navy, and he said he has been passionate about sports since he was a child.

“All three of my girls can do backflips, but none of the boys can,” his father said.

Several local Hmong leaders said plumThe victory shows that sports can be a way for this community.

“Our parents are always playing learning in our minds-extracurricular activities are playing,” Xiong said. “I think Sunisa shows that if you work hard, it will bring some results.”

Sunisa plum Next is Auburn University, where community members are raising scholarships she. John Lee hope sheWill participate in Paris in 2024 Olympic Games, But now is not the time to decide.

“She has been so, so at a loss, because she Missed all the holidays, she Missed everything, every family activity… she Thanks for your hard work, she There are no friends outside of school, only a few friends in the gymnastics world.” he Say. “When will we see she go home. “

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