Simone Biles Surprises Olympic Teammate Suni Lee's Father With New Wheelchair

The love in the gymnastics family runs deep. Simone Biles celebrated the father of fellow gold medalist Suni Lee by helping to give John Lee a new electric wheelchair on Today.

By Lindsay Weinberg Sep 01, 2021 10:01 PMTags
Watch: Why Gymnast Suni Lee Is a Relatable Olympic Icon

When Suni Lee won the gold medal in the individual all-around gymnastics final, she knew it represented a victory for her family as much as for herself. 

The Olympic athlete, 18, earned two more medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, all of which she attributes to her dad John Lee. Once she arrived home, Suni told him on the Today show, "I wouldn't be here without you." 

She put her gold medal around his neck, and he remarked, "I never thought that I would ever get one of these and she did it. She got it and brought it home. I'm so proud of her, so surprised, so everything."

John, who built Suni her first balance beam in their backyard, had an accident in 2019 that left him paralyzed from the chest down. At the time, he was helping a neighbor prune a tree when he fell off a ladder. 

Two years later, Simone Biles witnessed her teammate's special bond with her father firsthand at the 2020 Olympics. Now, she's teaming up with the Today show to give him an electric wheelchair from Quantum Rehab, which will be customized to his needs. 

Get to Know the U.S. Gymnasts Competing at the Tokyo Olympics

John has used a manual wheelchair since the incident and often relies on his "driver," aka Suni's brother Lucky, to get around, according to Today.  

"Hi, Mr. Lee, it's Simone. I love your daughter, Suni, so much and I know how much she loves you," Simone said in a video on Today. "You have done so much for her so I reached out to my friends at the Today show to see if we could do something special for you. Hope you like it."

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

He responded, "Oh, my God… This is amazing," adding, "It'll be a little different because now they don't have to keep pushing me around." 

It's clear there's nothing but love between Suni's teammate and father. After Simone withdrew from the all-around final, Suni earned her history-making gold medal. Her dad gave Simone a shout-out after his daughter's win, telling the news show, "I want to tell Simone that she truly is the GOAT because she let my baby girl bring the gold medal." 

In his latest interview, John also shared an update on how Suni is doing after starting her freshman year at Auburn University. "She's very busy," he teased, as she prepares to enter the ballroom on Dancing With the Stars this fall. 

(E! and Today are both part of the NBCUniversal family.) 

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