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

Incident happened with other friends of Asian decent

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KYMA, KECY/NBC) - Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee says she was recently the victim of anti-Asian violence.

In an interview Wednesday, Lee reveals the incident happened when she was waiting for an Uber with friends - all are of Asian descent.

When a car drove by, Lee said people inside began shouting racist slurs before speeding off and pepper-spraying her arm.

That same day, she shared a post over social media which quoted her gymnastics friend Jess Graba. Graba commented on Lee's goals, as well as the incident itself.

A spokesperson for Lee confirmed the incident on Thursday.

The kind of attack she described is more common than previous reporting suggested.

Stop AAPI Hate is a nonprofit group that tracks incidents of discrimination and hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The organization documented 3,800 incidents from March 2020 to February of this year.

These numbers are up from 2,600 the year before. Nearly 70% of people who reported being targeted were women.

Lee made history at the Tokyo Olympics this summer as the first Asian American woman to win a gold medal in the all-around gymnastics competition.

She's just the fifth U.S. gymnast to win gold in the all-around competition.

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