Suni Lee says competing alongside her long-time role model Simone Biles “pushed me to be the best version of myself”

Suni Lee kisses her gold medal from the Tokyo Olympics.REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

  • Suni Lee had a number of role models that inspired her to become an all-time great gymnast.

  • One of these role models – gymnastics GOAT Simone Biles – became his teammate at the Tokyo Olympics.

  • Lee spoke to Insider about Biles’ influence and his efforts to pass it on to other young athletes.

Suni Lee knows how important it is to have role models to look up to, especially in the sports world.

The 19-year-old American gymnast, who won an all-around gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, attributed much of her remarkable success to a handful of women who “inspired me to want to be like them or wanting to be better for myself.” Nastia Liukin and the entire USA gymnastics team that shone at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 came to mind, as did another American legend you may have heard of.

“I would say Simone Biles was obviously one of them,” Lee told Insider. “She is the GOAT [greatest of all time] gymnastic.”

Simone Biles (left) and Suni Lee at the Tokyo Olympics.

Simone Biles (left) and Lee at the Tokyo Olympics.Danielle Parhizkaran – USA TODAY Sports

After years of admiring the seven-time Olympic medalist from afar, Lee had the privilege of competing alongside Biles at the Tokyo Olympics last year. At first, the Minnesota native admitted he felt “flabbergasted” and thought “it was crazy” to be in the same neighborhood as the most decorated gymnast in World Championships history.

And true to her own definition of a role model, Lee said witnessing Biles’ intense “work ethic” was enough to motivate her to be awesome too.

“When I was at the Olympics, my coach and I noticed that when I worked alongside him, I improved constantly,” Lee said. “You see how she does things, and it’s like, ‘I want to be like her,’ so that really pushed me to be the best version of myself.”

Simone Biles speaks with her Olympic teammates.

Lee watches Biles (right) address her teammates at the 2020 Olympics.REUTERS/Mike Blake

Now that she has achieved her own world-famous success, Lee makes sure to lead by example and serve as a role model for others. The rising sophomore at Auburn joined tennis legend Serena Williams and high school basketball star Hansel Enmanuel as part of Gatorade’s “Fuel Tomorrow” campaign.

Together, the trio aims to help aspiring athletes see people like them represented at the highest level of sport.

“It’s really cool to see brands using their platform to amplify various models,” Lee said. “And to be featured alongside Serena Williams and Hansel Enmanuel in these commercials is also super cool because they’re incredible athletes.”

You can read more about Gatorade’s efforts to make the sport more accessible on the brand’s website and check out Lee’s “Fuel Tomorrow” campaign spot below:

Read the original Insider article

Rebecca R. Santistevan