Suni Lee fighting imposter syndrome after Olympic gold medals and DWTS fame

Suni Lee on Dancing with the Stars
Suni Lee on Dancing with the Stars. Pic credit: ABC

One of the more popular celebrity dancers in Dancing with the Stars Season 30 was Olympic gold medal winner Suni Lee.

However, as much as the fans fell in love with her, it took Suni weeks to feel comfortable with her place on the show.

Suni Lee won a gold medal for the United States and came in to dance on network television, and she never felt like she belonged.

Even after finally coming into her own on the show and proving herself, Suni went home almost immediately after that and started her college career as a gymnast.

To this day, she still said she faces imposter syndrome.

Suni Lee talks about fighting imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is when a person finds and earns success, but they don’t feel like they deserve it.

They feel there are better people out there and one day people will realize they are not the star that they thought and it will all end.

This happens to all sorts of people, from celebrities like actors and singers to athletes in all levels of sports, to regular people finding success in their specific vocation.

For Suni Lee, she said in a recent interview that she still doesn’t feel like she belongs, despite her success.

A lot of it is because of people who still doubt her and claim she didn’t deserve to win the gold medal in the Olympics.

Suni was a substitute and stepped up when Simone Biles pulled out. However, despite not earning the spot there over Simone, when Suni replaced her, she won the gold medal in the all-around, proving she deserved it.

“There’s just been so much doubt like, ‘Oh, she shouldn’t have won the Olympics, blah, blah, blah,’ and it really hits my soul,” Suni said.

Suni then went on Dancing with the Stars and she had to battle her own doubts, shyness, and insecurities to make it as far as she did on the show. There were still doubters.

“I would have thought I’d gotten used to it by now,” Suni said about the experience, “but I haven’t.”

Suni found support from an even bigger star athlete

Suni still doubts herself even as she is one of the stars of Auburn’s gymnastics team. She said she saw NBA star and Auburn alumni, Charles Barkley, calling him the GOAT of Auburn. She went to introduce herself and he stopped her and said he knew who she was.

“I can’t imagine being that famous on a college campus,” Barkley said to his co-host Ernie Johnson, saying he was never as famous as Suni.

Despite this, Suni felt that she didn’t deserve to win the gold medal because people’s words kept getting into her ears, and she almost quit after leaving Dancing with the Stars and heading to Auburn.

“I needed to be a part of a team to find my love for the sport again in order to keep getting better,” Suni said. “I needed to somewhat be normal.”

Suni then said she found a way to deal with this imposter syndrome.

“I just put so much pressure on myself that I get to the point where I really need a break,” Lee said.

She now keeps a notebook and writes “have fun” as one of her tasks for the day as well as the affirmation, “you are good enough.”

“My body’s where I need it to be at,” she says. “My mental’s getting there. And if I can just put it all together right now, then it can all come together in the end.

“But I also just know that there’s so much more left in me. And I just want to prove to myself that I deserved to go out there and win at the Olympics.”

Dancing with the Stars is on hiatus. The dancing reality competition series should return in late 2022.

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