US Olympian Sunisa Lee Says She Was Pepper Sprayed In Racist Attack.
The United States Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee revealed she was pepper-sprayed in a racist attack in Los Angeles.
The gymnast, who won gold in Tokyo this year, told Pop Sugar that she was the target of an anti-Asian attack while with friends a few weeks ago.
Lee said she and her friends were waiting for an Uber ride when a car passed with its occupants shouting insults and being pepper-sprayed on her arm as the car sped away.
“I was so angry, but there was nothing I could do or control because they jumped,” said Lee, who this year became the first American Olympian from the Hmong ethnic group.
“I didn’t do anything to them, and having the reputation is very difficult because I didn’t want to do anything that could get me in trouble. I just let it happen.”
The 18-year-old, who also won team silver and individual bronze on uneven bars at the Tokyo Games, appears on ABC television’s competition show Dancing With the Stars. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Laos and she was born in St Paul, Minnesota.
The United States experienced an increase in anti-Asian violence in 2020 according to FBI statistics, and activists attributed it to rhetoric by former President Donald Trump who characterized Covid-19 as the “China virus.”
In April, American Olympic karate fighter Sakura Kokumai, a Japanese American, described being attacked while training in a Southern California park by a man who threw racist epithets.
US Olympic snowboard champion Chloe Kim said in April that she receives racist abuse via social media on a daily basis.