'Tears everywhere': Watch Sunisa Lee's family celebrate historic all-around Olympic gold medal

·2 min read

Simone Biles, the reigning all-around Olympic gold medalist, was the loudest one screaming her name at a fan-less Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo. Back home in Oakdale, Minnesota, a room packed with family and friends erupted, her parents front and center in "Team Suni" T-shirts. 

Sunisa Lee earned gold in the all-around on Thursday, extending the United States' domination of the most prestigious title in gymnastics. She is the first Hmong American to make the U.S. Olympic team, and now first to win gold. 

The reaction from her family and Hmong community back home was similarly fitting of the top prize. 

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Lee, 18, quote-tweeted the reaction with "the people I do it for." She has said in the leadup to the Olympics she wants to bring awareness and acceptance to the Hmong community

The Hmongs are an ethnic group from Southeast Asia who fought on the U.S. side during the Vietnam War. Without land or a nation to call home after the war, many fled to Thailand as refugees and immigrated to the United States. The largest population is in the Twin Cities, where Lee's family resides. 

KARE 11 anchor Gia Vang was at the Lee family's watch party for the team competition on Tuesday when Simone Biles withdrew from the competition. Biles later withdrew from the all-around, opening a door for Lee to win gold rather than the silver. 

The watch party for the all-around expanded to the dozens at a hall in Oakdale on Thursday morning in the U.S. 

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Vang is also a Hmong American and said earlier in the week on Twitter her favorite part of the Tokyo Olympics is "anything Sunisa Lee." 

"To see a Hmong sis competing on this level, means so much," she wrote. "So many things to love: flawless routines, her fam that looks like mine, how her hair falls like mine and my nieces when we put it in a bun." 

The individual gymnastics competitions will be held starting Sunday. 

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