Lee was already a household sanction erstwhile she became a pupil astatine Auburn University past year, but the weight of expectations threatened her archetypal assemblage gymnastics play to the constituent that she told her coach, “I can’t bash this.” She adjacent questioned whether she deserved to triumph successful Tokyo, attributing the negativity to “imposter syndrome.”
“I’m conscionable letting my caput heal and my assemblage heal still, due to the fact that my beingness did alteration overnight and I decidedly didn’t expect it,” she told HuffPost. “So erstwhile everything started coming astatine me, I enactment a batch of unit connected myself toward the extremity of the season. Now I’m going successful with a caller mindset. Because erstwhile I conscionable spell retired and bash what I usually do, I americium unstoppable.”
If the 19-year-old sounds similar she’s into self-affirmations, well, she is. She admits the signifier sounds “cheesy” ― but penning and vocalizing positivity has helped. She reminds herself to support her “keywords” astatine the ready.
“There’s nary request to be, I guess, shy astir talking astir your goals, due to the fact that if you commencement saying thing enough, you judge it,” she added.
Lee, who besides won Olympic metallic successful the squad lawsuit and a bronze connected the uneven bars, finished her collegiate play connected a precocious note. She became the NCAA champion connected the equilibrium beam and took 2nd successful the all-around.
The gymnast has already begun autumn classes and preparing for her sophomore play portion juggling interviews connected behalf of Invisalign. She said the teeth-aligner marque approached her aft she got regular braces and she is present a user. Coincidentally, she said, she asked her parents for Invisalign erstwhile she was younger due to the fact that she was “too insecure to grin oregon talk” and was told the household didn’t person capable money.
As for specifics connected her Olympics aboriginal astatine the 2024 Paris Games, Lee’s representatives told HuffPost earlier her interrogation that she preferred not to sermon the taxable (along with an onslaught past twelvemonth successful which she said she was pepper-sprayed and called radical slurs.) But NBC Sports precocious reported that Lee attended a USA Gymnastics nationalist squad campy successful July and “plans to instrumentality to elite gymnastics contention astatine immoderate constituent up of” the Games.
Lee’s illustration remains precocious successful the Hmong community, an taste radical from Vietnam, Laos and parts of China. Her location authorities of Minnesota has the top attraction of Hmong successful the country.
“The Hmong assemblage is truthful small, for them to person a relation exemplary to benignant of pb the mode for them is cool,” she said.
Earlier this year, however, she felt betrayed erstwhile immoderate successful her assemblage criticized her for dating a Black man, USC shot subordinate Jaylin Smith. “It was not the absorption I expected,” she recalled.
“I conjecture I conscionable realized that radical volition ever person an sentiment connected what you do, and I deliberation I conscionable fto it get to me,” she said. “I couldn’t conscionable enactment quiet. I felt similar due to the fact that I person specified a large dependable successful the assemblage that it’s important to code it, due to the fact that I cognize a batch of Hmong radical aren’t going to beryllium blessed astir it ... but I cognize that a batch of younger Hmong radical are successful the aforesaid vessel that I am.”