On Thursday, the 18-year-old Hmong American and Minnesota native posted a snapshot on Instagram of herself smooching her new bling at the Tokyo Olympics.
“OLYMPIC ALL-AROUND CHAMPION,” she wrote in the caption. “So surreal. i can’t thank you all enough for the love and support. thank you to everyone who has believed in me and never gave up on me. this is a dream come true 😭💕WE DID IT.”
Simone Biles, last year’s winner of the same women’s category, withdrew from the competition earlier this week in an effort to focus on her mental health. Lee, Biles’ teammate, then took the title of highest-qualifying U.S. gymnast for the all-around final.
Lee’s gold medal marks the fifth year straight that Americans have taken the all-around Olympic final. Biles won the gold in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, and was preceded by Gabby Douglas in London in 2012, Nastia Liukin in Beijing in 2008, and Carly Patterson in Athens, Greece, in 2004.
Biles sent her congratulations to Lee via Instagram, posting a video of an ecstatic Lee with her medal at their hotel and a photo of them taking a selfie together.
“OLYMPIC CHAMPION RIGHT HERE !!! So so so beyond proud of you!!!!” the post read.
Lee is the first Hmong American to win a gold medal at the Olympics. Many people within the Hmong American and wider Asian American communities have come out on social media to show their support and commemorate her win.
“I literally can’t stop crying! All the sacrifice a refugee family had to endure to put you on that podium and now the world has a chance to know who we are. So proud to be Hmong American today!” one person wrote on Twitter.
“Sunisa Lee – you are a trailblazer,” another fan wrote. “One for the history books.”