March Athlete of the Month: Kodi Lee


With the time running short, senior Kodi Lee makes one final shot, smashing straight down the line to yet another victory. 

Starting her badminton career at the age of seven, Lee was first introduced to the sport by watching her parents play in their free time. After some time of playing with her parents, she started taking lessons at Global Badminton Academy—a training academy headed by former Olympic medalist Tony Gunawan.

“I chose to continue the sport because I found true enjoyment and happiness through playing and the friendships I made through it,” Lee said.

Since then, Lee went from being a highly-ranked junior player to an international representee of Team USA. Most recently, her proudest achievement has been being a part of the first-place Women’s Team in the M&F Pan-Am Cup, which qualified them for the 2022 Uber Cup in Thailand—a team tournament in which USA competes against other countries around the world. However, getting gold was not an easy feat.

Made up of some of the best badminton players in the U.S.,Team USA dominated at this year’s M&F Pan-Am Games, pulling through with a first place despite playing Canada in the finals—a team they have lost to several years in a row.

“Aside from winning, the atmosphere and group of people I was surrounded by made this competition unforgettable and by far one of my favorites,” Lee said.

Some of her feats include placing second at Adult Nationals and qualifying for the Junior International Trials since her U15 year.

Lee’s determination has led her to set high standards for herself, oftentimes making her feel as if she hit rock bottom through the downs. However, her strong support team composed of teammates, coaches and family has always motivated Lee to keep going.

“As I have grown older, I have become more resilient and now know that minor setbacks are not the end of the world, it just means I need to get back up and push even harder,” Lee said.

Currently, Lee practices five to six times a week on court and goes to the gym for additional weight training three times a week. 

As much as her mentality has affected her past, Lee has learned self-reliance, self-control and determination from badminton, which has built her up to who she is today.

“Experiences from losing a match, to traveling overseas alone have broadened my perspectives and allowed me to grow and mature as an individual,” Lee said.

Besides skill and endurance, the one thing Lee anticipates improving on is control of her nerves. As she has just recently begun to compete at the adult level, Lee is not as accustomed to the nerves of the international stage.

“I 100% plan on continuing to compete in badminton in the future,” Lee said. “It has always been my dream to become a professional badminton athlete and go to the Olympics.”