ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Injuries. Trolls. Her own nerves. Gymnast Sunisa Lee battles them all in Olympic quest
For the last 10 years, almost everything Sunisa Lee has done has been in the name of 2020.
Spending up to eight hours a day at the gym.
Taking classes online so that she has the flexibility to spend long hours at the gym.
Giving up family vacations and a social life.
For the last decade, the St. Paul gymnast has been chasing a dream that comes into being just once every four years — except now, she'll have to wait one more year.
Lee is trying to make the U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics team. She wants to go to Tokyo and win gold.
She had planned to do it this summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. Organizers this week postponed the games until 2021.
"I'm disappointed," Lee said of the decision, though she agrees it was for the best.
But while the timeline changes, the goal does not.
Lee wants to make the Olympic team not only for herself, but also for her dad.
It would be especially meaningful now, considering John Lee suffered a paralyzing injury last summer, just before Sunisa Lee was to leave for nationals. She almost skipped it to be with her dad.
But she didn't — and ended up showing the world her fortitude and talent. She placed second behind Simone Biles at nationals in August, and was part of the world championship-winning team in October. There, she won an individual silver on floor and a bronze on uneven bars.
But for all that, her path to the games is not assured -- nor will it be easy. It never was, given the depth in U.S. gymnastics right now. But it's further complicated by the fact that the American squad will comprise just four females -- down from five at the 2016 games -- though the United States could earn the ability to send two more gymnasts to compete in the individual events, separate from the team.