The college experience is a trying time for any younger grownup because the comforts of life at residence lastly give method to a semblance of maturity.
For many, it’s the primary time being self-sufficient, and the primary 12 months in school might be difficult.
Throw in being world-famous with 1.7 million followers on Instagram and an Olympic gold medalist, and the school expertise might be downright daunting.
For gymnast Suni Lee, the person all-around gold medalist on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the first year at Auburn University definitely offered some challenges.
“All people knew who I used to be, so it was sort of onerous for me to depart my home,” Lee instructed Fox Information Digital about arriving in Auburn. “Individuals came upon the place I lived. They had been knocking on my door. Like, there’s a number of ups and downs to it, however I like Auburn and I like the Auburn household.
“Everybody at Auburn is so good, so candy, tremendous supportive. The meets are all bought out. So it was actually thrilling final 12 months.”
Lee’s first season at Auburn was a powerful success. She grew to become an NCAA champion on the steadiness beam, an SEC champion on the bars and runner-up within the NCAA within the all-around.
Lee was named NCAA first-team All-American, SEC Freshman of the 12 months and All-SEC in her first 12 months with the Tigers.
She additionally has change into the tenth most dear NIL athlete in faculty, which incorporates her newest partnership with Clif Bar and the VOICEINSPORT Foundation, which goals to assist broaden participation amongst girls in all ranges of sport.
“I am partnering with Clif and the nonprofit group VOICEINSPORT Basis to assist shut the chance hole in sports activities and help girls at essential growth levels of their sports activities journey,” Lee stated. “Clif is pledging funds to speed up the VOICEINSPORT advocacy program and help the institution of 20 VOICEINSPORT Basis advocacy chapters and 20 Title IX trainings on college campuses throughout the US.”
Lee instructed Fox Information Digital she struggled with “imposter syndrome” throughout her first 12 months at Auburn as she tried to do one thing that had by no means been tried earlier than.
Lee is the primary gymnast to compete on the faculty degree after successful the gold medal within the particular person all-around on the Olympic Video games.
“The strain, I feel, was what bought to me as a result of going from an Olympic gold medalist to competing in school is 2 various things,” Lee stated. “And I feel everybody simply anticipated me to sort of go to Auburn and win the whole lot.”
“And behind my head, I am like, ‘I should not have even received the Olympics. Like, I did not should. The opposite ladies ought to have received.’”
Lee stated the “imposter syndrome” partially stemmed from the circumstances of the 2020 Olympics when superstar Simone Biles withdrew from a number of competitions.
Biles entered her second Olympic Video games with sky-high expectations as she was routinely known as the best gymnast of all time.
However Biles withdrew from a number of occasions — citing her psychological well being and the “twisties” — together with the all-around competitors, which Lee received.
“I feel that had one thing to do with it,” Lee instructed Fox Information Digital. “Simply because, the years earlier than in Olympic trials and all of that stuff, it was like, ‘I am competing for second as a result of all of us knew Simone was going to win.’
“So each single time I’m going right into a meet, me and my coach had been like, ‘We’re simply competing for second. We’re competing to win bars.’ And bars is one factor that I needed to win. So going into the Olympics, I am like, ‘OK, [I’m] simply competing for second and competing to win bars and hopefully medal in anything we will get and clearly staff.’ That was simply the mindset that I feel I simply let get too far into my head.”
Within the time since successful the gold medal in Tokyo, Lee had been not sure if she needed to proceed competing on the highest degree, undecided if she needed to strive for the 2024 Olympic staff in Paris.
Final week, Lee made her resolution, announcing on social media that the upcoming season at Auburn shall be her final as she makes an attempt to make the Olympic staff for 2024 and defend her all-around title.
“At the back of my thoughts, I feel final 12 months, simply sort of watching all the ladies compete at world championships, it simply sort of bought me extra excited,” Lee stated. “And I feel, behind my thoughts, I at all times inform myself that I have never reached my peak but, and it is not time for me to be finished competing for Workforce USA.
“And in addition, I simply wish to go on the market and show to myself that I can be capable to do it. As a result of on the final Olympics, I stored convincing myself that I should not have received. And I feel this time I wish to go into the Olympics higher than I used to be final time and to do it for myself and my coaches as a result of it is as soon as in a lifetime. And I simply did not need it to be as soon as in a lifetime.”
She’ll try to take action considerably extra well-liked than at her first Olympic Video games and with the world now aiming to knock her off the throne versus Lee seemingly popping out of nowhere.
Lee is aware of that there shall be a different level of attention on her in Paris now that she’s a family title, however she additionally says being a gold medalist doesn’t change the quantity of labor required to defend her title.
“I feel in some facets I sort of have to take a look at it in another way as a result of final time I wasn’t an Olympic gold medalist. … I’ve to work and work and work till I can’t anymore,” Lee instructed Fox Information Digital.
“I feel with the bodily side, after all, I’ve to simply hold pushing, working, being higher than I used to be yesterday. And with the psychological simply getting into with ‘I am Suni. I am not going to do something extra, something much less, and I am simply going to go on the market and do what I am purported to do.'”