Posts tagged with "2020 Olympics"

Sunisa Lee illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Suni Lee Wins Full Set at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

By: Ally Brewster

Women’s artistic gymnastics was at the forefront at the Summer Olympics once again this year in Tokyo. Artistic gymnastics is a highly competitive, technical sport that takes a lifetime to perfect. The sport garners millions of viewers worldwide each Olympics, and marketing teams use the sport as one of the faces of the games. Artistic gymnastics has become one of, if not the, most popular sport each Olympics.

At the Olympics, artist gymnastics is set into two categories: team and individual. Each member of every country competes in qualifying rounds for team finals, all-around finals, and individual events finals. Each competitor gets a chance to let their abilities shine as they compete on each apparatus. This year, each competitor of the USA Gymnastics team shined with Simone Biles, Sunisa (Suni) Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum. Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner participated as individual athletes for individual events. Though each gymnast shined, one gymnast really caught viewer’s attention. This notoriety was expected as she is a fan-favorite in the Olympics: Sunisa Lee. 

But, who is Suni Lee?

Suni Lee, born Sunisa Phabsomphou, competed in her first ever Olympics this year at only 18-years-old. Though she graduated high school just a few months ago, the Minnesota-native has been doing gymnastics since she was six-years-old. She first began her training at Midwest Gymnastics Center. No Olympic journey is easy, and Suni’s was no exception. Olympians need to train most hours of the day to perfect their craft, which can be difficult to afford. Suni’s father took that problem into his own hands. Her father had always been one of her biggest supporters. He decided to build her a wooden beam in their backyard for her to practice on when they couldn’t afford a real one.

Notably, Suni Lee is the first Hmong-American gymnast to ever compete at the Olympics. Her parents are immigrants from Laos. The Hmong community was excited to have this representation, especially after the year of anti-Asian rhetoric and violence. It meant a lot to the Asian-American community for Suni to be in the Olympics as a positive voice for the community. For some people, Suni was the first time they heard of the Hmong people – an ethnic group living mainly in southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. By qualifying for the Olympics, she was able to represent her community. This moment can be used to educate the world on the Hmong people, their community, and the hardships they have fought to overcome.

Going into the Olympics, Suni was a newcomer to watch for Team USA. She was known for her stellar bar routines. Suni went above and beyond even her own expectations. She qualified not only for Team USA and bar individuals, but also for all-around and beam.

During finals, all of Team USA did amazing. The US team gave the competition their all and ending up winning a Silver medal. They were all ecstatic because, with the exception of Simone Biles, it was each member’s first time winning an Olympic medal.

As they went onto individual competition, the team members of Team USA continued to support each other, even while competing. Suni continued to dominate the competition in the individual rounds. She caught the attention of people as she performed beautifully on each apparatus in all-around. Her performance earned her gold in the all-around competition. With the win, Suni became the first Asian-American to win an all-around gold medal.

After the all-around, the individual competition continued with Suni competing on the beam and uneven bars. On beam she performed beautifully, just missing a medal by placing 4th place. Though she did not win a medaling placement, Suni was as impressive as ever as she competed amongst the best gymnasts in the world. 

Coming into the competition, the uneven bars were known as Suni’s specialty. This proved to be the case as she performed a stunning routine. She was awarded third place and earned a bronze medal.

With each of her wins, Suni entered a distinguished group of Olympians that won a full set – earning a gold, silver and bronze medal. Suni made her community proud as she became the first Asian-American to win all-around. Suni is also the first Hmong American to compete in artistic gymnastics. Suni dedicated her Olympic wins to her father, who supported her through everything and watched her live her dream.

sports illustration by Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Xfinity Olympic Games Ad

While the world prepares for what may be the most meaningful Olympic Games in recent history, Xfinity– the Comcast brand providing internet, video distribution, wireless and electronic home security services for Team USA (and for Team USA in 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2028)– will release an ad called “The Song.” This ad will air nationally tomorrow ahead of the opening ceremonies and continue through August 8. The ad – which was released earlier this month in select markets and digitally –takes the timeless tradition of the Olympic Anthem “Bugler’s Dream” and features people from all walks of life humming the iconic seven notes in E-flat major: BUM—BUM—ba-ba-ba-BAH-BAH!

To extend the campaign and spark pride and support for Team USA, Xfinity today launched the #XfinityFanthem Challenge which invites consumers to sing, hum, perform and play their own renditions of “Bugler’s Dream” via TikTok. Olympic Swimmer Brad Snyder, Winter Olympian Brianna Decker, NASCAR Driver Kevin Harvick, E-Sports star Bugha, TikTok Creators Luna the Pittie, Cole Brown, the Philadelphia Eagles Dance Teamthe Philly Phanatic and more have partnered with Xfinity to create content and share their take on the song at #XfinityFanthem starting later today.

Listen to “The Song” HERE.

Watch the #XfinityFanthem compilation HERE.

“The Song” and #XfinityFanthem was created with support from advertising agency 72andSunny.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, HBO Weight of Gold Michael Phelps

HBO – The Weight of Gold

HBO Sports has acquired North American television and streaming rights to the documentary feature film THE WEIGHT OF GOLD, a revealing and powerful documentary exploring the mental health challenges that Olympic athletes often face in deeply personal detail. The film debuts on HBO, at the same time as the 2020 Summer Games with 11,000 world class athletes in attendance were slated to be competing in Tokyo, Japan. Those athletes, like much of the world’s population, are currently at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max. THE WEIGHT OF GOLD is an HBO Sports presentation of a film by Podium Pictures in association with Octagon. Directed by Brett Rapkin; executive produced by Michael Phelps, Brett Rapkin, Peter Carlisle and Michael O’Hara Lynch; executive producers for HBO, Peter Nelson and Bentley Weiner; produced by Ellyn Vander Wyden; supervising producer, Jonathan Crystal; edited by James Pilott; narrated by Michael Phelps; music composed by Simon TaufiQue. The sale of the project was handled by Kyell Thomas, Octagon’s Managing Director of Entertainment.

In a typical year, more than 3.6 billion people globally tune in to watch the Olympic Games. What most of these viewers don’t know is that just like one in five Americans, many of these Olympic athletes similarly face serious mental health challenges and struggle to find the necessary support and resources. In THE WEIGHT OF GOLD, Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete of all-time, shares his account of his struggle, along with other high-profile Olympic athletes including Jeremy Bloom, Lolo Jones, Gracie Gold, Bode Miller, Shaun White, Sasha Cohen, David Boudia, Katie Uhlaender, and, posthumously, Steven Holcomb and Jeret “Speedy” Peterson as shared by his mother, Linda Peterson.

This documentary is being released at a critical moment for the millions in society who struggle with mental health – an issue greatly exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The film spotlights Olympic athletes, a group that has long quietly battled its own mental health crisis and is now grappling with the unprecedented postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games and all its implications. The film seeks to inspire the discussion of mental health, encourage help-seeking behavior, and highlight the need for readily available help and support.

“As we all cope during this time of anxiety, Michael Phelps and the Olympic athletes of this film are courageously leading a movement for greater mental health awareness, giving a vulnerable look into the emotional costs of exceptional athleticism,” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President of HBO Sports. “When Podium Pictures and Octagon brought us this project, we quickly recognized its power along with the relatability of its theme for so many.”

“I believe I have experienced a state of depression after every Olympics I competed in,” said Phelps. “For a long time, I only saw myself as a swimmer, not a person. When I walked off the podium in Rio, I knew many of my teammates and competitors were not aware of, or prepared for – the post-Olympic transition. In sharing our stories, it is my hope that we can encourage others to open up, let them know they are not alone and that it’s ok to not be ok. For me, the opportunity to help break the stigma surrounding mental health and potentially save a life is way more meaningful than any Olympic medal.”

“Making documentaries always provides the opportunity to learn about your subject along the way,” said director Brett Rapkin. “Unfortunately, this particular project involved unexpectedly learning about a serious mental health crisis that I was not previously aware of: Post-Olympic Depression. The current global health crisis has only brought more urgency to finding ways to reduce the stigma of seeking help and provide excellent mental health resources for not only Olympians but everyone.”

For Phelps, the film is an extremely personal pursuit. When the Olympic legend came out of retirement for the 2016 Summer Olympics, it was in many ways his way of conquering the demons of post-Olympic depression that had engulfed him following his previous departure from competition. In the years since, he’s dedicated the next phase of his life to becoming an advocate for the awareness of mental health struggles.

“At the elite level, performance is everything and the narrowness of an athlete’s focus becomes easily justified, if not essential,” said Peter Carlisle, Phelps’ longtime agent and Octagon’s Managing Director of Olympics and Action Sports. “The imbalance that results often makes the transition to life outside of sport extremely difficult for many of these athletes. Their powerful stories reveal the pitfalls of pursuing success to the exclusion of all else and demonstrate the importance of mental health education and resources in sports and in everyday life.”

The film chronicles the uniqueness of the lives of Olympic athletes, beginning at very young ages, and the demands of their pursuit of the pinnacle in their sports. The rewards are no doubt tremendous, but the mental costs – in the wake of both failure and success – can also be very real, as detailed by the stories of some of the most recognizable Olympic names of the last few generations.

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