Gold medal draped around her neck, Sunisa Lee rode high atop a fire truck through the streets of St. Paul’s East Side on Sunday as hundreds gathered to celebrate the 18-year-old gymnast’s return home after a stunning Olympic performance in Tokyo.

As Lee waved to the crowd, flanked by her mother, sister and several American flags, 8-year-old Esme Xing flashed a homemade sign up toward her champion.

“I’m a Hmong girl and I can be anything I want,” it read, drawn with red, white and blue markers reminiscent of Lee’s leotard.

“We thought it was very inspiring to her,” said Xiong’s mother, Pang Vang, “not just as a girl — but a Hmong girl.”

“I can do a flip underwater!” Xiong proudly declared of her own gymnastic prowess.

The parade began shortly after 3 p.m., a jubilant homecoming to mark Lee’s profound achievement as the first Asian and Hmong American Olympic gold medal winner in history and a victory that has reverberated around the country. Members of the crowd beamed with pride as Lee passed.

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They whistled and waved American flags, clapped and cheered as they held up homemade signs and phones to record a glimpse of Lee.

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Gold medal gymnast Suni Lee reunites with her family live on TODAY