American gymnast Sunisa Lee took home the gold medal for the gymnastics all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
Lee, 18 years old and the first Hmong American Olympic gymnast, secured gold after strong performances in the uneven bars, floor and vault events. She earned 15.4 points on the bars, her signature event, which was the highest score of the night.
The routine Lee performed on the bars is considered to be the most difficult in the world, according to The New York Times.
Brazil took home the silver medal in the competition, and Russia earned bronze.
Her victory continues the United States’s winning streak for women’s gymnastics all-around. The U.S. has won gold in the competition since the 2004 Olympics.
Lee’s top spot finish comes after gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the all-around competition and the team final to focus on her mental health.
Biles was the defending champion of the all-around competition, after securing gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Jade Carey took her spot and ultimately finished in eighth place.
The U.S. women’s team took home the silver medal in the team final earlier this week, falling behind the Russian team.
USA Gymnastics celebrated Lee’s win on Twitter, writing, “Congratulations on your performance today, joining the historic list of American champions!”
Suni Lee. Olympic All-Around Champion.— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 29, 2021
Congratulations on your performance today, joining the historic list of American champions!
Mary Lou Retton (1984)
Carly Patterson (2004)
Nastia Liukin (2008)
Gabrielle Douglas (2012)
Simone Biles (2016)
SUNI LEE (2020) pic.twitter.com/PpOPuiM9pj
Lee’s win comes after months of hardship for the young gymnast. Her father fell from a tree he was trimming in 2019, injuring his spinal cord and leaving him paralyzed from the chest down, according to USA Today. He also broke his right wrist and fractured a number of ribs. He reportedly remains in a wheelchair.
The incident occurred two days before Lee was set to compete for the U.S. championships, according to NBC News.
She also lost two family members to COVID-19, NPR reported.