How Suni Lee Overcame Her “Really Scary” Kidney Illness

Sunisa “Suni” Lee may be the reigning all-around women’s gymnastics champion, but for a while she wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to return to defend her title at the 2024 Paris Olympics this summer.

The 20-year-old, who enrolled at Auburn University after winning gold at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, made the tough decision to step off the mat and end her college career in April due to a “non-gymnastics health related issue” that she later shared was an incurable kidney disease.

And though she declined the invitation to attend the U.S. team selection camp for the world championships in September, she is still hoping to recover in time to compete in Paris, an impressive feat considering her health issues almost ended her career permanently. 

“It was really scary and really, really heartbreaking,” Lee told E! News in an exclusive interview. “I definitely went through a little bit of a mental spiral because gymnastics is my outlet and it’s my safe space.”

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