Mary Lou Retton, the star of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics,
achieved unparalleled glory by becoming the very first American female athlete to seize the gold medal in the All-Around gymnastics event. Back in her homeland, she gained immense popularity, but now, she’s battling pneumonia and is in intensive medical care. Her daughter shared this news in a statement this week.
Mary Lou Retton’s daughter, McKenna Lane Kelley, posted on Instagram, revealing that her mother is “struggling to breathe on her own” and has been in intensive medical care for over a week.
Kelley didn’t provide specific details about Retton’s condition, but she did mention that her pneumonia was “extremely rare.” The exact hospital where Retton is receiving treatment was not disclosed.
Kelley, who delved into the world of gymnastics during her tenure at Louisiana State University, opted not to swiftly address the requests for further information regarding her mother’s current state of health.
During the 1984 Olympics, Retton etched her name in history by securing the distinction of being the inaugural American woman to attain a gold medal in gymnastics, whether in the All-Around category or any individual Olympic discipline.
To secure victory in the final rotation of the competition, she needed a perfect 10 score to beat Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo, and she did just that.
She also won five medals in Los Angeles, including two silver medals for the team and vault, and bronze medals on both the balance beam and floor exercise.
Though history books often marked her victory with an asterisk – the Soviet Union, the dominant force in women’s gymnastics at the time, boycotted the 1984 Games – it still made her a sporting icon in the United States.
Besides the traditional Olympic glory, such as appearing on a Wheaties box, Retton was widely seen as an inspiration for the new generation of American girls entering gymnastics.
So much so that when the American gymnastics program grew, and the country won more medals, including team gold, in 1996, Retton remained an icon; for two decades, she was the only American woman to win an All-Around title, a feat matched only by Carly Patterson in 2004.
Born in Fairmont, West Virginia, like many top gymnasts, she started early.
At a mere 7 years old, she had already embarked on the path of demanding, full-time gymnastics training.
Her talent was apparent from the start, but it was in 1982, at an Olympic elimination tournament in Reno, Nevada, where she made a significant breakthrough. There, she caught the eye of coach Bela Karolyi, who would go on to coach her to prepare for the 1984 Olympics.
In a March 1984 interview, Karolyi stated, “I immediately recognized the extraordinary physical capabilities of this little child.”
Throughout the late ‘80s and ’90s, Retton’s presence radiated across both the silver screen and television, leaving a mark in numerous productions, including the humor-filled movie “Scrooged.”
After her athletic career, Retton became an inspirational speaker, encouraging the benefits of proper nutrition and regular exercise.
What is Mary Lou Retton’s total wealth?
Mary Lou Retton is a retired American gymnast with a net worth of $2 million. She won an individual All-Around gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics.
She proudly secured her place in history as the initial American female athlete to attain the gold medal in gymnastics, triumphing in both the All-Around and individual Olympic competitions.
In one of the most dramatic moments in sports history, Mary Lou Retton, trailing Romanian Ekaterina Szabo by five-tenths of a point, had only one way to win: she needed a perfect 10 on the vault.
She delivered, shocking the world, scoring a perfect 10 and instantly becoming an international sensation. She left the ‘84 Games with five medals: the aforementioned gold, two silvers, and two bronzes.
After the Olympics, Retton remained in the public eye in various ways, particularly as a supporter of the Reagan administration. She also enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin and appeared in many, many, many TV commercials and endorsement campaigns, notably for Wheaties cereal.
Retton’s birth took place on January 24, 1968, in the charming town of Fairmont, nestled in the heart of West Virginia. Her father, Ronnie, was in the coal transportation equipment business.
From birth, she carried the burden of hip dysplasia, a condition that only deteriorated with her rigorous gymnastics training as time passed. Inspired by Nadia Comăneci’s victory in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, she began gymnastics training at the age of 8.
To encourage her gymnastics training, her family moved to Houston so that Retton could train under the guidance of Bela and Martha Karolyi, who had coached Nadia Comăneci to excellence.