Suni Lee has nothing but love for Hoda Kotb and everyone else who supported her on her journey to winning the Olympic gold medal at the women's gymnastics individual all-around competition on Thursday.
Lee, 18, flashed Hoda a sincere heart hand signal during the competition.
"I looked up at her and she held up a heart and then I held up a heart and then I started feeling like it was my kid," Hoda said.
While the athletes have to compete without their families and friends in a spectator-free stadium due to COVID-19 restrictions, Hoda was one of the few media staffers who were allowed in the stands to cover the event.
Hoda, who is a mom to two young daughters, said she started to feel a bit emotional watching Lee compete, but the gymnast quickly mimed back another message to her, shaking her finger and telling her not to cry.
Lee clinched the gold with a final score of 57.433. Brazil's Rebeca Andrade won the silver, while Russia's Angelina Melnikova earned the bronze.
Simone Biles, who was the defending champion, pulled out of the competition earlier this week to focus on her mental health.
On TODAY, Hoda recalled the moment she finally got to talk to Lee after her big win. She said she walked into the room and saw Lee wearing a mask, holding her medal and crying. While the 18-year-old was soaking up the moment, she said she was also missing her family, particularly her father, who was the one who built her a balance beam in their backyard when she was young.
"He always told me if I win the gold medal he would come out on the ground and do a backflip. It's sad that he can't be here, but this is our dream and this our medal," she said.
Lee continued to be incredibly humble and mentioned everyone who supported her along the way.
"This is my family's medal, my medal. My coach's medal. He doesn't get a medal, so I'm dedicating it to all of them," she added.