I Just Want to be Out with my Friends- Suni Lee opens up on Troubles with Public Attention

Published 12/26/2021, 1:27 PM EST
Sunisa Lee won the gold in women’s all-around category at the Tokyo Olympics. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Suni Lee might be the 2020 Olympic Gold medalist, but things have never been easy for her. Over the past few months, she has revealed how much she went through and how elite gymnastics really took a toll on her life.


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The Olympic all-around champion gymnast has been through her fair share of struggles. She has come out and revealed how toxic the environment of gymnastics is, and how much it has affected her, both mentally and physically.


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Now that the star athlete has joined college, she reveals how hard it is for her to be a normal college student with all the attention that she gets.

Suni Lee reveals the struggles of being an elite athlete

The 18-year-old Olympic champion has joined Auburn University this year and has just finished her 1st semester. She has done this amidst endless hours of rehearsals and practices. Additionally, she also took part in the popular American show, Dancing with the Stars.

She recently revealed that sometimes she just wants to be a normal college-going girl, and that’s hard. She’s the centre of attention whenever she is out, and has to frequently oblige fans with pictures and videos.

“Sometimes, I just want to be out with my friends, and people are constantly taking pictures and videos of me,” 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)

All of this can become a little too much for someone, even though they are a celebrity.

“I have to put on a professional face whenever I’m in public,” she said. “It can be really hard.”

Earlier when the star athlete lived in Los Angeles, it wasn’t as taxing, as it’s commonplace to run into celebs in the city. But Auburn is not such a big place, people tend to recognize Lee immediately as the Olympic champion.

Lee going through some major changes

Sara Hubbard, who is Lee’s roommate also revealed how the over-the-top attention can be a bit too much for both of them. Lee cannot even go out without someone taking her pictures.

People even tend to ask Hubbard questions because she is Lee’s roommate. Hubbard herself is a freshman gymnast.

“I’ll go somewhere with her, and people will be like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’, “ said Hubbard.


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ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA — AUGUST 8: U.S. Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee, center, makes a heart sign for her fans during a parade in her honor in St. Paul, Minn. on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021. Lee, of St. Paul, took home three Olympic medals — gold, silver and bronze — in gymnastics from the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. She is joined by Her mother, Yeeb Thoj, left, and her sister, Shyenne Lee. (John Autey / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images)

Lee herself is going through a big change. Earlier only the gymnastics community recognized her, but now the 18-year-old is famous worldwide.

“And now, it’s like everybody knows me. It’s a big change. I mean, a really big change,” said Lee.


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Suni Lee plans on defending her title at the 2024 Paris Summer Games. Meanwhile, she is also gearing up to compete in college gymnastics.


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Richa Goswami

281 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.