Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Suni Lee
Olympian Suni Lee brought her gold medal skills to the baseball mound on Friday when she threw an epic first pitch at the Minnesota Twins game.
The 19-year-old Lee took the field at Target Field sporting denim shorts and a Twins jersey before throwing the ceremonial first pitch for the team's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. But rather than go with the traditional, direct pitch to home plate, Lee made the most of her moment and wowed the crowd with a flip before throwing the ball.
After landing her flip, Lee threw the pitch and posed for photos alongside Twins pitcher Caleb Thielbar and the team's mascot.
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Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Suni Lee throws epic first pitch
The Olympic gold medalist made her flip look a spur-of-the-moment decision, but even Lee needs to do a little warming up before landing a flip like that. Before taking the field, she practiced her move with Twins staff.
— Dustin Morse (@morsecode) August 6, 2022
Lee's epic flip isn't the first time an Olympic gold medalist has added some gymnastic flare to a first pitch, however. In 2019, Olympian Simone Biles wowed the crowd at the World Series with a flip of her own.
Biles told Uni Watch she had been practicing her pitch with her father prior to the game. "My dad made me stand in the driveway with him and throw a ball back and forth, just to make sure I knew how."
"He was like, 'You're not gonna end up in one of those 'fail' videos,' " Biles joked.
Despite an epic first pitch from Lee, Friday's game ended with a win for Toronto, who defeated the Minnesota Twins 3-2.
The Auburn Tigers gymnast made history when she competed for Team USA at the Tokyo Summer Games last year. Not only was she the first Hmong American Olympic gymnast, she also became the first Hmong American Olympic gold medalist when she won the coveted all-around gold.
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In May, Lee reflected on her legacy in a new PSA for Paramount and SeeHer, which advocates for accurate portrayals of women and girls in advertising and media. "Growing up I didn't see a lot of Asian American women on the U.S. Gymnastics team, so to be one of the first Hmong Americans to win the Olympic gold medal is just absolutely amazing," she said.
"My gymnastics career has helped change what's expected for Hmong women because I decided to create my own path," she continued. Although Lee shared that it can sometimes be hard "to tell myself that I'm proud of myself," being able to pave the way for the next generation is something she cherishes.
"I am proud of myself for being somebody that younger girls can look up to," she said. "If you can see her, you can be her."