Suni Lee quits faculty gymnastics to check out for her second Olympic crew in Paris

After finishing her sophomore yr on the Auburn College gymnastics crew, Suni Lee will make the transition to elite gymnastics and embark on a bid to symbolize Group USA once more on the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Lee, who grew to become the first Asian American to win gold in the all-around on the 2020 Tokyo Video games, introduced his resolution to give up collegiate gymnastics and pursue Olympic glory with a video posted on his Instagram account on November 15.

“I’ve my sights set on Paris in 2024, and I do know what I must do to get there,” Lee stated within the video. “I can not wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

Lee joined the Division I Auburn gymnastics crew within the fall of 2021, simply weeks after competing on the Tokyo Video games, the place she received a crew silver medal and a person bronze medal on uneven bars as well as. of his gold medal within the all-around. As a freshman at Auburn, she had the most decorated year in program historyprofitable an NCAA championship on steadiness beam and incomes second place all-around, in addition to eight U.S. honors.

Lee’s second (and last) season at Auburn kicks off in December with their annual preview. Season tickets to see her play in individual have already sold out— for the second consecutive yr.

“When you love Auburn, Auburn will love you,” Lee said to oneself earlier within the fall. “They’re completely superb.”

Competing for Auburn was a dream of hers, as Lee defined in her video, however the “indescribable thrill” of competing on the largest stage on the planet was one thing she wasn’t fairly prepared for. ‘take away. “I do not need it to be simply as soon as in a lifetime,” she stated.

If she does a rehearsal, will probably be historic. In accordance NBC Sports. (MyKayla Skinner got here shut as an alternate for the 2016 Video games in Rio de Janeiro, then competed for the College of Utah, then made the Tokyo crew.)

Beforehand, competitors on the faculty stage meant retirement from the elite world. Till about 2000, faculty gymnastics “did not have that pleasure and attraction” of elite competitors, stated Betty Okino, a 1992 Olympian. The Washington Post. In truth, in response to the outlet, just one athlete from every of the final two Olympic groups earlier than Tokyo has competed within the NCAA.

Over the previous twenty years, nevertheless, there was a shift: Main tv networks have began airing faculty meets, faculties have began promoting out their halls and the spellbinding routines of school gymnasts like Nia Denis and Katelyn Ohashi went viral, bringing faculty gymnastics to the mainstream.

One other large purpose that now makes faculty gymnastics extra interesting to those that competed for Group USA? Beforehand, the NCAA had strict guidelines concerning amateurism – athletes couldn’t make the most of their identify, picture or likeness (NIL) and proceed to compete for faculties. This meant that if an athlete achieved Olympic fame as a teen, they could not do issues like do commercials or settle for endorsements whereas the iron was nonetheless sizzling, as a result of that may void their faculty eligibility. However from July 2021, the The NCAA has changed its policy and suspended earlier guidelines, permitting athletes to profit from their very own NIL.

All of those adjustments to the world of collegiate gymnastics imply the Paris Video games might be a contest like no different. In accordance ESPNtwo different members of the Tokyo 2020 crew, Jordan Chiles and Jade Careyhave already competed concurrently at collegiate and elite ranges, that means there are a number of prospects for an Olympic-college-Olympic trajectory for Paris.

And now Lee is throwing his identify into that blend.

“I all the time had this little voice inside me telling me that I wasn’t achieved with the elite and that I wished to strive once more,” Lee instructed ESPN. “As you method the tip of an Olympic cycle and get nearer to the Video games themselves, the coaching intensifies to a degree the place it is utterly a full-time job…. I do know that to have one of the best shot at representing my nation once more, I’ve to dedicate this time, and this resolution permits me to take action.


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