Exclusive: Suni Lee talks triumphant return to elite gymnastics and new skills

Hartford, Connecticut - Athlete Suni Lee, the reigning Olympic all-around champion, is making a triumphant return to elite gymnastics, competing in her first major qualifying event leading up to the Olympic trials.

Reigning Olympic champion Suni Lee has made a triumphant return to elite gymnastics, unveiling new skills and surprises as she prepares for Paris 2024.
Reigning Olympic champion Suni Lee has made a triumphant return to elite gymnastics, unveiling new skills and surprises as she prepares for Paris 2024.  © EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Stepping back into the spotlight after her time in NCAA gymnastics with Auburn, Lee's performance at the 2024 Core Classic Championship captivated fans and signaled her readiness to take on the world's best gymnasts once again.

"It feels so good to be back out there competing and feeling the energy from the crowd. It’s super exciting – I feel pretty good," Lee told TAG24 NEWS in an exclusive interview after competing on Saturday night.

"I think I am starting to build a lot more confidence on beam, which is super important because that’s always gonna be one of the events that it comes down to for me."

Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter enters plea as bombshell gambling case goes to court
Athletes Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter enters plea as bombshell gambling case goes to court

Lee's confidence on the beam was on full display as she executed her routine with precision and grace, marking a huge 14.6 score to take home the event title.

Her return to elite gymnastics is driven by her personal aspirations, with the ultimate goal of making her second Olympic team and defending her all-around title.

Reflecting on her performance at the Classic, Lee told TAG24, "I just really want to be able to do this for myself. I want to be able to walk away and just know that I gave everything that I had instead of just giving up and not making it."

Suni Lee reveals goals and aspirations for the US Championships

Reigning Olympic champion Suni Lee is determined to return as an all-around gymnast, aiming to compete on all four apparatuses at the US Championships.
Reigning Olympic champion Suni Lee is determined to return as an all-around gymnast, aiming to compete on all four apparatuses at the US Championships.  © IMAGO / Icon Sportswire

After completing her first season of college gymnastics, Suni Lee stepped back into the elite scene last year to compete on bars and beam at nationals.

She later opted out of the world selection camp, passing up the opportunity to make the world team.

This year, however, the 21-year-old is determined to return as an all-around gymnast and aims to compete on all four apparatuses at the US Championships.

Basketball legend and NBA logo inspiration Jerry West has died
Athletes Basketball legend and NBA logo inspiration Jerry West has died

"My goals for championships are to have my double full back on vault and to compete all-around because we’re getting towards the end," she explained.

"It’s important to compete everything all at once to train my body to be able to last for the rest of the season."

In addition to competing on the balance beam, Lee took on the floor exercise and vault. She described adding these two events as beneficial because it allowed her to "fight those demons" and push herself further.

Suni Lee shares new skills and surprises coming to the competition stage

Suni Lee is preparing to reveal new skills to the competition floor at nationals.
Suni Lee is preparing to reveal new skills to the competition floor at nationals.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Fans can expect thrilling surprises from Lee, especially on the beam and uneven bars.

She hinted at the possibility of debuting a double pike as her beam dismount, a move that would undoubtedly add to the excitement of her routines.

However, it's her performance on the uneven bars that promises to be a showstopper.

Lee, who won a bronze medal in this event at the Tokyo Olympics, has been working on an impressive new release move – a full-twisting layout Jaeger.

This upgrade is set to elevate her already exceptional routine and leave spectators in awe.

She also shared that her uneven bars routine for Paris 2024 will remain a mystery until closer to trials.

As Lee continues her journey back to elite gymnastics, her resilience, talent, and unwavering passion for the sport shine through.

With each routine, she reaffirms her status as one of gymnastics' most dynamic figures.

The road to the 2024 Paris Olympics is paved with challenges but, if her recent performances are any indication, Suni Lee is more than ready to conquer them and go for gold.

Cover photo: EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

More on Athletes: