Sunisa Lee Goes Off to College After Historic Tokyo Olympics Wins

Sunisa "Suni" Lee won hearts at the 2020 Tokyo Olymipcs, and now she's turning heads on campus at Auburn University. Read what she's had to say about her fresh start at college.

By Elana Rubin Aug 14, 2021 11:37 PMTags
Watch: Why Gymnast Suni Lee Is a Relatable Olympic Icon

Sunisa "Suni" Lee mastered the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but now she's ready to ace college.

The Olympian is officially starting her freshman year at Auburn University in Alabama, which comes only a few weeks after she made history as the is the first Hmong-American Olympic gymnast. While competing for Team USA, Sunisa scored a gold, a silver and a bronze medal for gymnastics in Japan.

The 18-year-old star is already receiving a warm welcome ahead of her first semester at college. While speaking at a press conference, which was shared on the Auburn Gymnastics Instagram page, Sunisa told reporters just how sweet her teammates have been.

"They've all been super welcoming and actually, amazing," she said. "They've all reached out to me separately to just see if I've needed anything. I'm really excited to be competing with them."

The athlete added, "The team has really amazing girls and they all bring something to the table, so I'm really excited to be competing with them. And I'm really excited for how this season is going to go because I feel like we're gonna be really good this year."

2020 Tokyo Olympics Candid Photos

Even though it's unusual for an Olympian to go back to college after finding so much success at the Olympic Games, Sunisa explained why it's important for her to continue pursuing her education.

"I have to take advantage of this opportunity," the Minnesota native told on Friday, Aug. 13. "Nobody has done it before. I want to help be the face of that and help other people in the future know that they can do college and still make money. I feel like it's a win-win situation."


Simply put, "I feel like it's a win-win situation."

Although Sunisa will continue to show off her impressive skills as an Auburn University athlete, she asserts that she's hoping to reboot and recharge first.

"Right now, rest is the main focus because at the Olympics I was a little bit beat up," she revealed. "Coming here, I was hoping to let my body rest, and mentally as well, because that does take a lot out of me."

She continued, "I just want to focus on myself and getting ready for the season. I have a really good team behind me. I'm excited for everything that's going to be coming in the future."

If anything, Sunisa's mostly looking forward to being a normal college student.

"A lot of people here know me. I just got here so of course people are going to be excited," she explained of her newfound stardom. "Once it dies down, I feel like it will be a little better and I'll be able to do stuff and be able to go somewhere without being called out. I'm really happy to be here."

She concluded, "I just wanted to have some fun. Elite gymnastics was so hard and there's never any time to have fun or hang out with your friends. Coming here, I can be more free, and I'm just excited to be part of a team."

On Friday, Aug. 13, Sunisa proved just how excited she is for this new chapter. The Olympian shared an Instagram photo of herself proudly rocking an Auburn T-shirt while posing in front of a campus building. She captioned her post, "war eagle."

Check out E! News' 2022 Beijing Olympics homepage for news, photos and more.