On Tuesday, after Simone Biles announced that she would not be competing in the gymnastics team finals over mental health concerns, Lee took her fellow Team USA gymnast’s place on the floor.
As the 18-year-old performed her floor routine, Kotb could be seen looking on as she tensely held on to a railing in the stands.
In the clip, which was shared by Today, the co-anchor then stamps her foot, slowly at first and then quicker, before briefly swaying back and forth.
As Lee finished her performance, Kotb concluded the heartwarming display of support by pumping her fist in the air and clapping.
On Twitter, where the clip was viewed more than 177,000 times after it was shared by the Twitter account The Gymternet, Kotb’s support was met with widespread praise, with many thanking her for cheering on the gymnast, especially considering Covid restrictions barred supporters and family members from stands.
“Let’s just all take a moment to appreciate her for momming when the moms couldn’t come,” one person tweeted, while another said: “Okay that’s adorable.”
The clip also prompted a response from Kotb’s co-anchor Jenna Bush Hager, who tweeted the video alongside the caption: “This made my morning. @hodakotb I [heart] your cheerleading. Always and forever,” while Lee tweeted the clip and added: “@hodakotb I LOVE YOU.”
While discussing the clip during Wednesday’s episode, Hager also noted that Kotb resembled Aly Raisman’s parents during the 2016 Rio Games, where they could be seen leaning back and forth in the stands as their daughter competed, while Kotb explained that the video was the result of her just hoping Team USA would do well.
“You spend half your time willing them to do well,” she said, adding: “Not that they need us.”
During the games, Kotb also shared her support for Biles, with the Today anchor tweeting on Tuesday: “Someone said it best. @Simone_Biles already won. She is a class act. Withdrew from team competition after vault... stayed and cheered on her teammates... got them chalk for their hands.. encouraged.. hugged them. She already won. Congrats on the silver medal! @TeamUSA @USAGym.”
Kotb also revealed she had reached out to Biles’ mother, Nellie Biles, to update her on the gymnast’s mental wellbeing, with the Today host explaining that she had told her the 24-year-old “seemed to feel relieved, almost”.
“I said she seemed to feel relieved, almost,” Kotb recalled on Today. “She had that look of relief as opposed to anxiety. And her mom just said she was just happy that Simone had support here with all of us.”
Team USA won the silver medal on Tuesday after Biles withdrew from the competition, finishing just behind the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).
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