Suni Lee won an Olympic gold medal before she signed on to compete on Dancing with the Stars.
While one might seem much more difficult to train for, Suni said that really isn’t the truth.
Suni Lee spoke at the Sports Illustrated Awards where she was named athlete of the year and talked about the Olympics and Dancing with the Stars.
Suni Lee compares Dancing with the Stars training to Olympics
Suni Lee talked to PEOPLE about her time on Dancing with the Stars and how she compared the training there to her gymnastics career.
“I don’t think anything will ever compare to the work I put into the Olympics,” Suni said, “But I have to say, probably Dancing with the Stars [was harder].”
This might seem strange, but it also makes sense.
Suni Lee has been a gymnast her entire life. When it came to Dancing with the Stars, she was doing something that was completely new to her. Not only that, but she had to learn new dances each week.
It was all about learning new skills.
“I didn’t expect it to go that way, and when I had to go into the gym every single day — or go into rehearsals, I was like — ‘Why is nothing clicking?,'” Suni said. “So it was definitely harder that way.”
However, Suni Lee is a competitor and refused to give in.
Suni Lee on her Olympics training and Sports Illustrated honor
Her road to the Olympics this year also wasn’t easy, as she was a last-minute step-in to compete. She even credited a teammate who previously appeared on Dancing with the Stars with giving her the confidence to take the gold.
Simone Biles appeared on Dancing with the Stars Season 24 and she pulled out of almost every event she was entered in during the Olympics this year.
“I think she did open the door for the rest of us,” Suni said. “It’s a really hard topic for everybody to talk about, but when it’s coming from Simone — the GOAT — everybody knows her and respects her, it must mean a lot.”
While Suni Lee didn’t win on Dancing with the Stars, Sports Illustrated did give her an honor to add to her Olympics gold medals.
“This is so surreal. I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me and come along with me throughout my journey because it has not been easy,” Suni said after the win.
Dancing with the Stars is on hiatus. It should return to ABC late in 2022.More: Dancing with the Stars, Suni Lee