Standing out! Sunisa “Suni” Lee was a breakout star during the Tokyo Olympics and went on to set her eyes on a different award: the Dancing With the Stars mirrorball trophy.
ABC announced in August 2021 that Lee would be one of the youngest contestants on season 30 of the dance competition show premiering that fall.
“Hi, guys, I’m Suni Lee and I’m an Olympic gold medalist. I’m so excited to be joining season 30 of Dancing With the Stars,” the artistic gymnast said in a teaser video via Instagram. “See you on the dance floor.”
JoJo Siwa, who will be the first contestant to compete with a same-sex partner, joined Lee in the ballroom.
“I am so excited to be a part of Dancing With the Stars season 30. And to be dancing with a girl I think it’s so cool,” Siwa, who came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in January 2021, said via the show’s official Instagram account. “It’s going to be the best ever. I can’t wait to just dance every week. I can’t wait to meet my partner. Oh, my gosh, there are so many things I’m so excited for.”
Lee has also made her fair share of history, becoming the first Hmong-American to take home three medals during the Olympics, including a gold in the all-around event, silver in the team final and bronze in individual uneven bars event. After returning from Tokyo, she was ready to compete once again.
“I’ve seen so many people go out there and do Dancing With the Stars, so it was one of my goals after the Olympics,” Lee told USA Today in August 2021.
The professional athlete previously watched DWTS “whenever there [were] gymnasts on the show” and revealed she was excited to try something new after training in her own sport for so long.
“It’s expressing yourself even more when you’re dancing, because you’ve kind of been locked up a little bit in gymnastics,” she noted. “Dancing is just super fun.”
Lee was ready to leave her mark on the DWTS stage, but there was still one aspect of ballroom dance that made her nervous.
“Dancing in high heels is the one thing I’m scared about,” Lee explained. “My ankles are very fragile. Hopefully they will get stronger.”
Scroll down to learn more about Lee before her DWTS debut: