Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee says she was pepper-sprayed in racist attack

LOS ANGELES -- Olympic gymnast Suni Lee said she was recently pepper-sprayed in an anti-Asian attack, just months after winning gold in Tokyo.

Lee told Pop Sugar she and some girlfriends - all of Asian descent - were waiting for an Uber during a night out when a group of people inside a car yelled racial slurs. Lee, 18, said she was pepper-sprayed in the arm by someone in the vehicle as it sped away.

Lee said the people in the car shouted racist slurs like "ching chong" and they told the girls to "go back to where they came from."

"I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off," she said in the interview. "I didn't do anything to them, and having the reputation, it's so hard because I didn't want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen."

Lee earned a gold medal as all-around champion with her spectacular routines during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this year. The 18-year-old, who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been staying in Los Angeles while she competes for the top prize on "Dancing with the Stars."

Lee has not said where the incident happened, but the LAPD said it did not receive a police report.

Attacks against Asian Americans have jumped during the pandemic.

In April, U.S. karate olympian Sakura Kokumai, was berated while she trained at an Orange County park in another disturbing anti-Asian attack. A man was later arrested in that case.

RELATED: Man berates Asian American woman at busy OC park, bystanders fail to step in
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In the latest in a disturbing spike in anti-Asian attacks, an Olympic athlete from Orange County was in a park training for the summer games when a man targeted her in an incident that she captured on video.



"These incidents of anti-Asian hate continue to happen," said Connie Chung Joe, the CEO of Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles. "They might not be making frontline news everyday, but Asian Americans are continuing to experience it. And I think it's a moment for us to think about: what are we going to do about it?"

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