Olympic Gold Medalist Sunisa Lee Says She Was Targeted In Anti-Asian Racist Attack

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Olympic Gold Medalist Sunisa Lee Says She Was Targeted In Anti-Asian Racist Attack

Topline

American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee said she was recently pepper-sprayed and targeted with anti-Asian slurs in Los Angeles, highlighting the latest high profile incident of violence against Asian Americans in the U.S. during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key Facts

In an interview with PopSugar, Lee said she was attacked in Los Angeles while waiting for an Uber with her friends.

The group of assailants pulled up to Lee and her group of friends in a car, yelled slurs at them, and asked them to go back to where they came from.

Lee said one of the assailants pepper-sprayed her arm as the car sped off.

Crucial Quote

Recalling the incident Lee said: “I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off. 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.”

Big Number

9,081. That’s the total number of incidents of racial attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) that were recorded between March 2020 and June 2021, according to a report published by the group Stop AAPI Hate. These incidents include instances of verbal harassment and physical assault among other things.

Key Background

Lee won the gymnastics gold medal in the women’s all-around individual competition at the Tokyo Summer Games earlier this year after her teammate and defending champion Simone Biles withdrew from the competition. The 18-year-old gymnast also managed to clinch an individual bronze medal on the uneven bars and a silver medal in the team competition at the Olympic games. One of the breakout stars of the Tokyo games, Lee was the first U.S. Olympic athlete to represent the Hmong ethnic group.

Further Reading

All Eyes On Suni Lee (PopSugar)

Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee says she was pepper sprayed in racist attack (Washington Post)

Olympic gold medalist Lee says she was pepper sprayed in racist attack (AFP)

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