Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee, Opens Up on Her Recent Collaboration With Serena Williams for a Campaign: “It’s Really Cool”

Published 06/15/2022, 8:30 AM EDT

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When Suni Lee won the women’s all-around gold at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, she elevated a community that had felt forgotten for decades. Suni Lee is now the first Hmong-American to claim that title, and the world took notice of the Hmong when she soared to the top of the podium.

The Hmong are members of an ethnic group that traditionally lived in Laos, Vietnam, and China. And with Suni Lee’s global fame, they finally took center stage.

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Suni Lee becomes a role model

With her Olympic victory, Suni Lee became an inspiration for many young girls. She has joined the tennis legend, Serena Williams, as a part of Gatorade’s “Fuel Tomorrow” campaign. Hansel Enmanuel, a high school basketball star, completes the trio.

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The campaign aims to highlight the accomplishments of athletes from diverse backgrounds and create more opportunities in the sport. It strives to help aspiring athletes see people like themselves represented at the highest levels of the sport. Because, as Gatorade says“If you can see it, you can be it.”

The gymnast is excited to be working alongside a big name like Serena Williams for an important cause. “It’s really cool to see brands using their platform to amplify diverse role models,” Lee told Insider. “And then just being featured alongside Serena Williams and Hansel Enmanuel in these commercials is also super cool because they are amazing athletes.”

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What her victory means to the Hmong community

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Suni Lee’s father, John Lee, talked about her impact in an interview with The Associated Press. “I can’t find the words to express how happy we are, how important that was to me and my family and to the whole Hmong community throughout the world,” he said.

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In the USA, California and Minnesota carry the largest Hmong populations. The community played a key role in the history of the United States. In 2019, Minnesota declared a state holiday to recognize Hmong veterans who served alongside U.S. troops in the Vietnam War. It is known as Hmong Special Guerrilla Units Remembrance Day.

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Suni Lee has set an example of the success of women in sports. Subsequently, she has become a role model for many young girls in the community. Lee’s victory encourages them to look beyond academics and chase after their dreams. She has become an icon and continues to highlight the sport and her community with her partnership with Gatorade.

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Written by:

Mansi Jain

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Mansi Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor's degree in Multimedia and Mass Communication from the University of Delhi and has also previously interned for HT Media. She is always one mention of Yuzuru Hanyu away from delivering an hour-long speech about the athlete's legacy.
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Edited by:

Simar Singh Wadhwa