Are Gymnasts Allowed to Rest? US Olympic Star Suni Lee Reveals Harsh Reality

Published 01/01/2022, 12:55 PM EST
Sunisa Lee of United States of America during the all around artistic gymnastics final at the Olympics at Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan on July 29, 2021. (Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


18-year-old Suni Lee quite shocked the world when she became the Olympic all-around champion in gymnastics. At a very young age, she beat several other experienced gymnasts to grab the medal.

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But ever since then, Lee has talked time and again about the harsh reality behind the gymnastics scene. As an elite athlete, Lee has been through her own share of struggles and speaks about it publicly.

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Recently, in a podcast, she talked about what goes on behind the scenes with gymnastics and how this sport has completely turned her life upside down.

It was really hard: Suni Lee

After Tokyo 2020, Lee revealed that she was under extreme pressure and stress. Even mentally she was going through a lot.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Olympics were postponed to 2021. This significantly hindered the athlete’s training regime. Getting back after this was really difficult, because as a gymnast, you need to be practicing all the time, otherwise you might lose your flexibility.

“It was really hard. It definitely took me probably like over six months to kind of like, try and motivate myself again and get my body back to where it was,” said Lee.

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 03: Sunisa Lee of Team United States warms up prior to the Women’s Balance Beam Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Furthermore, it was a 6-month long break. In gymnastics, taking even small breaks can set you back by months. So 6 months was a lot.

“And it’s in gymnastics, if you take like, say if you take like two weeks off, it’s gonna take you like three months back to get three months to get back to where you were,” said Lee.

Additionally, in gymnastics, you have to keep your body constantly active no matter what. This can be mentally draining for the athlete.

Lee struggled a lot after the pandemic

After her break, when Lee got back to the gym, she was clearly out of practice. The first week she was back, she broke her ankle.

This lowered Lee’s confidence, making her doubt whether she could actually do this or not.

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“I don’t know if I can do this anywhere because I was just like the pandemic I was off for three months I come back my first week I broke my ankle,” said Lee.

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 29: Sunisa Lee of Team United States competes in the floor exercise during the Women’s All-Around Final on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The broken ankle put her back by another 3 months, adding up to 6 months of no practice in total. This was extremely hard for Lee to deal with. This lowered her motivation as well.

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However, Suni Lee overcame all of these and worked really hard for the Olympics. It paid off when she walked away proudly with 3 medals.

DIVE DEEPER

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Richa Goswami

284 articles

Richa Goswami is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. As an adherent learner, she uses her journalistic persona to navigate through new skills. Richa has completed her schooling at Don Bosco.

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