Suni Lee ending college gymnastics career due to kidney issue

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(NEW YORK) — Suni Lee is wrapping up her college gymnastics career early in order to shift her focus to a health issue, she announced Monday.

“I have been dealing with a non-gymnastics health-related issue involving my kidneys. For my safety, the medical team did not clear me to train and compete over the last few weeks,” the Olympian shared on Instagram and Twitter. “I am blessed and thankful to be working with the best specialized medical team to treat and manage my diagnosis. My focus at this time is my health and recovery.”

Lee did not specify what kind of kidney issue or condition she has.

The Auburn University sophomore first announced that she would be ending her collegiate career ahead of time last November, when she revealed she was planning to return to professional gymnastics in the hopes of competing at the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Paris next year.

“As an athlete that has competed at the highest level, on the world’s biggest stage, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience that once-in-a-lifetime feeling and the indescribable emotion when a gold medal is draped around your neck. But I don’t want it to just be once in a lifetime,” the 20-year-old wrote at the time.

Lee has been competing for Auburn’s women’s gymnastics team, the Auburn Tigers, since fall 2021 after she returned with three Olympic medals – a gold, silver and bronze medal – from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which were held in 2021 following a yearlong delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In her Monday announcement, Lee thanked her school and said she felt “forever grateful” for her community.

“I am so proud of my team and the way they showed determination and resilience this season. Auburn, thank you for the best 2 years of my life and for giving me the opportunity to make history alongside this amazing group. I am forever grateful for this community,” Lee wrote.

She added, “It’s been challenging to end my Auburn career early, but I am thankful for all of the love & support. I will not stop pursuing my dreams for a bid to Paris in 2024. In fact, this experience has sharpened my vision for the future.”

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