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Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee Says She Was Pepper-Sprayed In Racist Attack
Suni Lee made history this summer at the Tokyo Olympics as the first Asian American woman to win a gold medal in the all-around gymnastics competition.
Olympic gold medal gymnast Suni Lee has disclosed in a new interview that she was recently the victim of racist slurs and pepper-spraying during an anti-Asian attack.
In a profile by the website PopSugar, the 18-year-old Lee revealed that just a week before sitting for an interview with the outlet, she was attacked while waiting for an Uber while out with friends, who are all also of Asian descent.
A group of individuals had driven past them in a car and hurled racist slurs at them while telling them to "go back to where they came from." One of the passengers even sprayed Lee’s arm with pepper spray, Lee told PopSugar.
“I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off,” Lee said. “I didn’t do anything to them, and having the reputation, it’s so hard because I didn’t want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen.”
Lee made history this summer at the Tokyo Olympics when she became the very first Asian American woman to win a gold medal in the all-around gymnastics competition.
There has currently been a clear escalation in attacks against Asian-Americans. A recent study, conducted by Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate shows that Asian-Americans were targeted in around 3,800 hate incidents in the past year alone. Just one year prior, the nonprofit recorded about 2,800 such incidents, meaning there had been a more than 25% increase over from year to year. Women were victimized the most, making up 68% of the most recent incidents.