MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The U.S. women’s Olympics gymnastic team was finalized Sunday night, and two Minnesotans are heading to Tokyo.
Suni Lee, of St. Paul, and Grace McCallum, of Isanti, made the team. During Sunday’s qualifiers, Lee finished second behind superstar Simone Biles in the all-around standings. McCallum was selected by the Olympic committee to fill out the team.
“This means so much to me, I’ve worked so hard over the past couple of years,” Lee said after qualifying. “Just going on the floor and doing everything I was supposed to do feels amazing.”
McCallum said she feels blessed and honored to compete on the worldwide stage next month. “I can’t thank my family and friends enough for their love and support throughout the years.”
In an interview with reporters, Lee said that her father is her inspiration. Two years ago, he was helping a friend cut a branch and fell of a tree. The accident left him paralyzed. He watched Sunday night as his daughter qualified for the Olympics.
“He’s inspired me so much,” Lee said. “Whenever I look at him, I just make myself do better…To be here with him means a lot to me.”
Lee will be the first Hmong American to compete at the Olympics. The 18-year-old is a wonder on the uneven bars, one of a handful of gymnasts on the planet who can outshine Biles on an event.
The Olympics are slated to start July 23. The games were delayed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)