suni lee

Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee Says She Was Pepper-Sprayed in Anti-Asian Attack

Lee said the attack made her mad, but she felt like there was nothing she could do about it

Sunisa Lee of Team United States
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee said she experienced a racist attack recently when she was waiting for an Uber with a group of friends who are also of Asian descent.

Lee, 18, who was the first Asian American woman to win Olympic gold in the women's gymnastics all-around, opened up about the terrifying encounter in an interview with PopSugar.

The "Dancing with the Stars" contestant said a group came by in a speeding car yelling racist slurs, including telling Lee and her friends to "go back to where they came from."

Lee said one passenger sprayed her arm with pepper spray as the car sped away from Lee and her friends.

"I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off," she said. "I didn't do anything to them, and having the reputation, it's so hard because I didn't want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen."

Suni Lee dominated the women’s gymnastics all-around on Thursday, winning the U.S. a gold medal for the fifth Olympics Games in a row. Lee and Jade Carey handily carried the torch after teammate Simone Biles dropped out of the women’s gymnastics all-around earlier this week, placing first and eighth overall.

Lee has previously shared her pride about growing up in a close Hmong American community. During the Olympics her parents organized a party in Minnesota where hundreds of members of the community showed up to watch Lee compete in Tokyo.

Not only was Lee the first Asian American woman to win gold in the all-around, but she was also the first Hmong American gymnast to qualify for the Olympics.

“The people I do it all for,” Lee tweeted after seeing the celebration. “I LOVE YOU ALL.”


This story first appeared on More from TODAY: 

Copyright Today Digital Originals
Contact Us