Olympic gymnast Suni Lee recites this 10-word rallying cry before competing to reduce stress and boost confidence


The results are in, and Suni Lee is heading to Paris for the 2024 Olympics as one of five women, including the most-decorated gymnast Simone Biles, to qualify for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. 

Lee, a Minnesota-raised 21-year-old, became a household name during the Tokyo Olympics when she took home the gold medal in the individual all-around and helped propel her team to silver. 

However, the road to Paris has not been smooth sailing for Lee, who told TODAY this week that “it feels absolutely insane” to be marching toward her second Olympics representing Team USA. With recent health obstacles and the pressure to perform, Lee knows all too well that reaching success is much more than physical training alone. Lee swears by a daily mental ritual to calm her nerves and get in confidence mode, which includes journaling four to five pages before every competition.

GettyImages 2160019782
Jordan Chiles and Suni Lee after making the 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team.

Elsa Via Getty

“I’m feeling so much in the moment,” Lee tells Fortune about her competition-day nerves. Lee, who has partnered with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, a health equity sponsor of Team USA, says “I like to write down my keywords, trying to remember my why, things that I need to remember when I’m out there competing and simple things like just telling myself affirmations and to breathe because that’s something that I struggle with when I’m competing.” 

Last year, Lee was diagnosed with an incurable kidney disease that forced her to take a training hiatus. However, she kept her sights on the Olympics and worked with her medical team to make a comeback, which she recalls in an Instagram post as “so more than my return to elite gymnastics. It was me proving to myself that I can overcome hard things, and to hopefully inspire others to never let life’s setbacks stop you from going after your dreams.”  

Since then, reminding herself to breathe and relax has become more integral to her training routine. Mindfulness also helps strengthen the brain and tune the mind for performance. It’s a practice touted by billionaire Brad Jacobs and Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan for optimizing performance and fighting burnout. 

“You’re teaching yourself to be nonjudgmentally aware of the present moment,” Elizabeth Seng, an associate professor of psychology at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University, previously told Fortune. Journaling self-affirmations also triggers the brain’s reward system, which can “be a powerful vehicle for turning down the brain’s stress alarm system,” Dr. David Creswell, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and researcher in self-affirmations, previously told Fortune

A 10-word rallying cry

Lee repeats a saying and journals a 10-word phrase before competing: “Nothing more, nothing less because your normal is good enough.” 

It’s a phrase that she has leaned on during the most intensive training periods and competitions. “It’s super important to me because I know when I was younger, the community around gymnastics wasn’t as positive as it is now,” she says, adding that you have to accept dealing with more failures than successes. 

GettyImages 2160034750
“I think confidence has been the most important thing and just trusting my body, trusting myself whenever it comes to gymnastics,” says Suni Lee.

Elsa via Getty

Carving out time for mental preparation has helped boost Lee’s confidence, which she recalls being challenged amid various health struggles while competing over the years.  

“I was always looking at myself like ‘Oh, my gosh. You can see my eczema, or do I look really strong right now?’” she says. She hopes to destigmatize health conditions by speaking out about them, and serve as a role model to for younger athletes to find their confidence. 

“Confidence has been the most important thing and just trusting my body, trusting myself whenever it comes to gymnastics,” she says.  

Lee also loves taking self-care days, which include napping, taking a bath, going shopping, having her favorite meal, and ending the night with a calming Netflix show. 

The 2024 Paris Olympics will kick off at the end of the month. 

For more on sports and mindset: 





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top