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Gold medalist Suni Lee to return to elite gymnastics for 2024 Olympic run

Lee, who has been competing for Auburn University, is hoping to return to the medal podium at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Suni Lee competes on the uneven bars during the women's U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Friday, June 25, 2021, in St. Louis.
Suni Lee competes on the uneven bars during the women's U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in St. Louis on June 25, 2021.Jeff Roberson / AP file
/ Source: TODAY

Olympian Sunisa “Suni” Lee is planning to make another run for the 2024 Paris Games.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Lee shared that her upcoming sophomore season competing for Auburn University will be her last.

Lee, 19, plans to return to elite gymnastics after this winter in a bid for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.

“I don’t want it (the Olympics) to just be once in a lifetime,” she said in a video posted Tuesday. “I have my sights set on Paris in 2024, and I know what I have to do to get there. I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and putting in the work.”

She added that gymnastics is her “passion” and “something that I love so deeply because it pushes me to be the best version of myself every single day.”

Lee took home three medals at the Tokyo Olympics, winning gold in the all-around, silver in the team event, and bronze in the uneven bars. She hasn’t competed in elite international gymnastics since then, choosing to instead attend Auburn and take part in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition.

The NCAA has a different scoring system than the Olympics and elite gymnastics and usually requires different routines. The NCAA also limits athletes to training 20 hours a week.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Lee plans to drop out of classes at Auburn as well or just stop competing for the gymnastics team. TODAY reached out to Lee for comment but did not immediately hear back.

NBC Sports reported that Lee signaled she was likely to return to elite gymnastics in July when she participated in her first U.S. national team camp since the Tokyo Games.

Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Lee is the daughter of Hmong immigrants John Lee and Yeev Thoj. Her parents were children when their refugee families settled there.

In her video, Lee encouraged young women to dream big just like she did to overcome her circumstances.

“To every little girl whose circumstances dictated your future but you pushed beyond them, I see you,” she said. “I did it and you can do it too...because nothing is impossible.”

She concluded by thanking her Auburn “family.”

“This special place will always be a part of me and my journey, and I will always be an Auburn Tiger,” she said.

In the post caption, she looked ahead to her last year with the Tigers: “Thank you to my auburn family, you’ll forever have a special place in my heart,” she wrote. “Let’s make this season the best one yet. WAR EAGLE!”