U.S gymnast Sunisa Lee has spoken out expressing her support for her teammate Simone Biles, saying "they don't owe anyone a gold medal" after winning a silver in their team competition.
The eighteen-year-old gymnast tweeted on Tuesday that she has "never been prouder to be a part of such an amazing group of girls."
She added: "We've stepped up when we needed to and did this for ourselves. We do not owe anyone a gold medal, we are WINNERS in our hearts."
Biles came to Tokyo as the "face" of the Games but withdrew due to mental health issues. She felt as though she was not mentally ready following a shaky vault landing so she decided to take a step away from her Tokyo glory... but her teammates still bathed in the glory of 2nd place.
Lee's family was so proud of the team, especially his daughter, who almost didn't go to Tokyo.
"Even though we can't go and support her in person, I'm glad that we could share with the world," her dad, John Lee, told WCCO in Minnesota. "We're just all so happy, we cheered her on. We had the full house so we were pretty loud."
He said his daughter, who placed second behind Biles in the national championships, almost didn't go to Tokyo because he was in surgery. He was partially paralyzed after falling from a ladder in 2019.
"She and her coach came over and I woke up and said, 'You worked so hard for it, just go,'" he said. "Sunisa, she's very persistent. Whatever she sets her mind to, she'll go for it."
Jade Carey, who finished 9th in qualifying, will take Biles' place in the individual all-around.
The organization said Biles will be evaluated daily before deciding if she will participate in next week's individual events, qualifying for the finals on all 4 apparatuses.
Lee posted a photo on Instagram showing the team sporting silver medals, writing: "Proud of you & everything you've accomplished! thank you for being a role model and someone I look up to every single day. You not only inspire me as a gymnast but as a person as well. Your fearlessness and ability to do the impossible does not go unnoticed, we love you!!"
She also posted another video exclaiming: "Olympic silver medalists. The fighting 4. Beyond proud of this team. In my heart, we are winners. We fought until the end and didn't give up. Tonight may not have gone how we wanted it to but we stepped up to the plate and give it our all. Best team I could've asked for."
We support you Simone, and so do Team USA!