St. Paul will host Sunday parade for Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee – TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press

St. Paul will host a parade Sunday afternoon in honor of Olympic gold medalist Sunisa “Suni” Lee.

At Minnesota-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, where media and well-wishers were gathered to greet Lee upon her return to Minnesota from the Olympics in Tokyo, Mayor Melvin Carter told reporters the parade will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday along White Bear Avenue on the city’s East Side, where the 18-year-old gymnast grew up.

Lee is the first Hmong American and first Asian woman to win the Olympic gymnastics all-around title. She is the sixth American to hold the title, following Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles. Lee also won a bronze medal on the uneven bars and helped the U.S. take silver in the team competition.

  • Signs welcome home Team USA gymnasts Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum as they return from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • Holding flowers and an American flag, Team USA gymnasts Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum (not seen) are welcomed as they return from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • Team USA Olympic gymnast Sunisa Lee takes pictures as she and teammate Grace McCallum are welcomed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • Fans, friends and family wait to welcome home Team USA Olympic gymnasts Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • A small girl holds a photo of Team USA gymnasts Sunisa Lee as Lee and teammate Grace McCallum are welcomed home upon their return from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • Team USA gymnasts Sunisa Lee tries to find her luggage as she and teammate Grace McCallum return from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • Team USA gymnasts Sunisa Lee, right, and Grace McCallum look for their luggage as they return from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • Fans, friends and family wait to welcome home Team USA Olympic gymnasts Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • A girl waves an American flag as she joins fans, friends and family in welcoming Team USA gymnasts Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum as they return from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

  • Team USA Olympic womenÕs gymnasts Sunisa Lee, left, and Grace McCallum, right, are welcomed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Lee, who won gold, silver and bronze medals, is from St. Paul and McCallum, who won a silver medal, hails from Isanti. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Over the past few days, a committee of family members, Hmong leaders and event organizers has scrambled to determine the feasibility of closing a segment of White Bear Avenue to traffic for a parade on relatively short notice. Growing concern around the coronavirus’ highly transmissible delta variant this week inspired the Twin Cities to adopt mask mandates for city employees and visitors to government buildings, as well as masking recommendations for businesses.

Public health experts have noted, however, that outdoor areas are safer than crowded indoor spaces.

Parade-goers returning home along Interstate 94 should watch for detours and plan for delays as the Minnesota Department of Transportation will close I-94 westbound between St. Peter and Marion streets for the weekend. The closure, which begins at 10 p.m. Friday, will allow crews to remove ornamental bridgework, part of a two-year interstate resurfacing and repair project.