Suni Lee said Friday that her gold medal win is a "dream come true."
"If I'm being honest, I did not sleep very good last night. I was just so excited, there was just so much going on in my head," Lee told Hoda Kotb on NBC's "TODAY" show.
The 18-year-old from Minnesota had already made history as the first Hmong American to compete in the Olympics. She broke another barrier Thursday, becoming the first Asian American woman to win gold in the Olympics’ all-around competition.
Suni Lee’s gold medal win inspires a new generation of gymnastsJuly 30, 202103:30
"I was just telling myself to do nothing more and nothing less," Lee said. "And I was just telling myself to breathe because in that moment I felt like I was going to puke."
"My normal is good enough so I don’t need to do anything more or anything less — I just need to do what I usually do," she said.
Lee previously noted that her teammate Simone Biles' decision not to compete "was a lot to take in."
"I was coming in to take a silver spot, but I feel like I just kind of went out there and did it for myself," she said.
Lee also won for her community and her family back home, who had gathered for a watch party and erupted in excitement when she won the gold.
"Right before the medal ceremony I FaceTimed my sister, and everybody in the camera was just screaming and crying and I was just like, 'I did it,' and we just had this little moment where it was just like, 'We did it,' she said.
Lee singled out her dad, John, who she said has done everything in his power to get her to this point, even building her a balance beam in the backyard when she was just getting started at a young age.
"I always wanted to get better," Lee said.
The beam "was something that we cherished because whenever I was bored I would just go outside and he would try and coach me even though he didn’t know what he was talking about," she said laughing.
John fell off a ladder in 2019 — two days before Lee competed at the U.S. National Gymnastics Championships — and became paralyzed.
She considered skipping the championships, but her father encouraged her to continue and she went on to take gold on uneven bars, second place in the all-around and third in the floor exercise.
Now, he can't do the backflip that he promised he would do if she won gold, but "he’s doing a little bit better," Lee said. He's learning how to drive and participating in a trial that might bring back some feeling in his legs.
"My dad means so much to me. I love him so much and I wish he could be here and share this moment with me," she said.
Lee, who also won silver at the Tokyo Games in the team final Tuesday, will go on to compete for titles in the bars and beam next week. It's unclear if Biles will be competing by her side.
"I‘m really nervous, but I feel like I’m really ready to compete on bars and beam," Lee said Friday.