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Suni Lee plans to leave college gymnastics and focus on 2024 Olympics

Sunisa Lee wins gold in Olympic gymnastics all-around
Sunisa Lee wins gold in Olympic gymnastics all-around 01:52

Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee says she's planning on leaving college gymnastics and putting her focus on the 2024 Paris Olympics

Lee, who is currently a sophomore at Auburn University, announced in a video on social media that this will be her last season competing at the collegiate level and she will turn her attention to "elite" gymnastics. 

"As an athlete that has competed at the highest level on the world's biggest stage I've been fortunate enough to experience that once in a lifetime feeling and the indescribable emotion when the gold medal is draped around your neck," she said. "But I don't want it to just be once in a lifetime."

The 19-year-old star said competing for Auburn has been a "dream" of hers and one that "grew in tandem" with reaching the Olympics, but made it clear she's going to prioritize the latter. 

"This will be my last season competing at Auburn University," she said. "I'm so excited to share that after this season I will be returning to elite gymnastics. I have my sights set on Paris in 2024 and I know what I have to do to get there." 

2022 NCAA Division I Women's Gymnastics Championship
Sunisa Lee of the Auburn Tigers competes in the floor exercise during the Division I Womens Gymnastics Championship held at Dickies Arena on April 14, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Among her accolades so far at Auburn, she won the NCAA championship on beam, runner-up in all-around and secured four All-America honors at the national meet. The school's website said she had the "most decorated year in Auburn program history."

"To every little girl whose circumstances have dictated their future but you pushed beyond them, I see you," Lee said in concluding remarks. "I did it and you can do it too. Because really, nothing is impossible."

She took the world by storm last year in the Tokyo Olympics after she finished atop the women's Olympic gymnastics all-around. She became the fifth straight American woman to claim the title. She won two other medals during the Olympics – silver with Team USA in the team competition and bronze on the uneven bars. 

Lee is the first Hmong-American Olympian — both of her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Laos. She was born Sunisa Phabsomphou to her mother, Yeev. The Minnesota native has always had the support of her family, with her stepfather revealing he built a wooden balance beam in their backyard despite not being able to afford a "real one." 

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