Gold medalist gymnast Suni Lee suffers from ‘impostor syndrome’


Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee didn’t have the easiest transition to the Auburn gymnastics team after winning gold at the Tokyo Games last summer.

“I feel like after the Olympics there were so many doubts like, ‘Oh, she shouldn’t have won the Olympics, blah, blah, blah’, and that really gets to me,” Lee, who turned 19 last week, told ESPN in an interview published Tuesday.

When Lee started her college career with the Tigers, the freshman gymnast felt compelled to perform well – and prove that she had won her gold medal “because I think I just put myself in the head that I didn’t deserve to win,” she said.

“Like impostor syndrome – that’s exactly what I have. And it’s very hard. It was very difficult for me to motivate myself the first few weeks here because it felt like I didn’t want to not do gymnastics, I hated it,” Lee said.

The teenager was part of the United States Olympic gymnastics roster and won gold in the all-around in Tokyo last July before opening up about her mental health struggles.

She wasn’t the only team member looking after them either. Those same Games, Simone Biles pulled out of a number of events in order to prioritize her own mental health.

“I would have anxiety attacks when competing,” Lee said of his Auburn debut. “Like the first two meetings of this season, I was a wreck because it was like constantly shouting my name and like, ‘Suni, can you take a picture?’ or ‘Can you sign an autograph?’ while I try to concentrate.

Suni Lee at the Tokyo Olympics
Getty Images

Lee recalled a time when she was preparing for a gymnastics meet earlier in the season. At one point, she started shaking and breathing heavily and told Auburn coach Jeff Graba, “I can’t do this.”

“When everyone expects you to be good for Auburn, it’s really hard for me just mentally, because I’m already putting so much pressure on myself that when I have this added added pressure stress, I just kinda breaks,” she said. .

Lee said Graba helped her “flip the switch” and figure out what she “needs to do.”

In February, the freshman scored a perfect 10 on uneven bars and later that month recorded another 10 on balance beam.

Lee said she used journaling to ease her anxiety. She recently shared a page from his diary on Twitter, which included positive affirmations, such as “Have fun” and “You’re good enough.”



New York Post

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