How did Suni Lee’s dad get paralyzed? American Gymnast’s father’s injury explained


Suni Lee is an American gymnast and an exceptional one at that. She was a gold medalist in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She’s just 19 years old and already has a tremendous career. The future is incredibly bright for her.

She’s suffered a few injuries in her time, but her father suffered one much worse and a lot more debilitating. Right now, her father John Lee is paralyzed.

The incident occurred in 2019. According to reports, the gymnast’s father fell off a ladder and became paralyzed from the chest down. The accident happened right before Lee was set to compete in the national championships in Kansas City.

John was influential in guiding Suni to a career in gymnastics. She got interested, apparently, in the sport as early as the age of seven, and her father helped craft a balance beam for her to practice on.

The gymnastics community has rallied around Lee and her family in the wake of the tragic accident. Simone Biles even gave John an electric wheelchair.

Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee’s heartwarming reunion with her family on our plaza after the Tokyo Olympics inspired Simone Biles to ask TODAY’s help in coming up with a big surprise for Suni’s dad, John, who was paralyzed two years ago. @NMoralesNBC has the details. https://t.co/kXcA3FQsJa

The gymnast’s father told Suni not to worry and not to let the injury distract her from greatness:

“She’s worked so hard for this. I tell her, don’t worry about me, just go and do well.”

Lee went on to compete in those national championships in 2019 and be the runners-up in her event.


Suni Lee’s stellar career thus far

Suni Lee has only been competing in senior gymnastics for three years. She began at the 2019 World Championships where she earned the following:

  • Gold in team event
  • Silver in floor exercise
  • Bronze in uneven bars

Lee was just 16 at the time and put on a show, letting the world know she was coming.

Prior to those World Championships, she had been on the junior circuit since 2015. Her international debut was in the Gymnix International Junior Cup, where the US won gold in the team event and Lee won silver on the uneven bars.

Suni Lee in action at Tokyo Olympics

She has already had five perfect 10.0 scores in her career:

  • February 5, 2022- Auburn @ LSU, uneven bars
  • February 25, 2022- Auburn vs. Kentucky, balance beam
  • March 4, 2022- Auburn vs. Florida, balance beam
  • March 19, 2022- SEC Championships, uneven bars
  • April 2, 2022- NCAA Regional Finals, balance beam

She was even a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, where she became the seventh Olympian to compete. She ended up coming fifth overall.

Lee has been everywhere during her young career, but once she starts competing more often, she’ll be even more successful and secure even more victories.


Edited by Akshay Saraswat

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