Suni Lee, the first Olympic all-around champion to compete in college, will return for her sophomore season at Auburn, a representative for the gymnast said Friday, confirming a report.
“Her intention is to come back,” Auburn coach Jeff Graba told reporters after talking to Lee on Thursday morning, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “NCAA gymnastics has been good for her in a lot of ways. But she’s going to have to balance it out. She’s going to have to make decisions in the future, but right now the decision is: ‘I think I can still do both.’ So I think that’s where we are.”
Lee, a 19-year-old from Minnesota, followed her Olympic gold medal by taking runner-up in the NCAA Championships all-around behind Trinity Thomas of Florida. She also won the balance beam title and helped Auburn to a fourth-place team finish, the best in program in history.
Since Tokyo, Lee repeated an unspecified desire to get back into international competition, which usually entails a different training plan and routines than in college, ahead of the 2024 Paris Games.
“She has to make a decision whether she trains for 2024 or not,” Graba said, according to the newspaper. “She wants to train. She doesn’t want to get caught off guard. And she doesn’t want to commit herself, because she’s pretty dang busy right now.”
For the first time in history, four U.S. Olympians went directly into NCAA competition after the Games — Lee, Grace McCallum, Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles.
Carey and Chiles plan to return to elite competition. McCallum said last month she was undecided.
The fifth member of the Olympic team, Simone Biles, hasn’t ruled out a run for a third Olympics in 2024, but has not announced any specific comeback plans.
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