A Legendary Legacy
Retton retired from gymnastics in 1986 but has continued to captivate audiences with her appearances in popular shows such as Glee, Baywatch, and even as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars.
Her incredible legacy has rightfully earned her a place in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, serving as a testament to her inspiring journey.
A Proud Mother
Let us not forget that alongside being an exceptional athlete, Mary Lou Retton is also a proud mother of four daughters. Updates on her condition will be shared as soon as they become available, acknowledging the concern and love from her fans around the world.
Mary Lou Retton’s Health Struggles
Mary Lou Retton, the iconic gymnast who stole our hearts with her stunning performance at the 1984 Summer Olympics, is currently facing a challenging health ordeal.
This brave athlete, who dazzled us with flawless routines and won the gold medal, is now fighting for her life in the intensive care unit (ICU).
A Rare Form of Pneumonia
Retton’s daughter, McKenna Kelley, took to social media to share the heartbreaking news.
She revealed that her mother is battling a rare form of pneumonia, which has severely impacted her ability to breathe independently.
Our beloved gymnastics legend has been under the care of a dedicated team of medical professionals for over a week now.
A Call for Support
Out of respect for Retton’s privacy, Kelley did not provide all the details of her mother’s condition.
However, she did mention that Retton is currently uninsured, and the medical expenses are rapidly accumulating.
In an effort to ease the financial burden, Kelley has initiated a fund and humbly appeals to anyone who can offer prayers and contribute financially towards these expenses.
About her life:
Retton was inspired by watching Nadia Comăneci outshine defending Olympic two-event winner Olga Korbut on television at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, when she herself was eight years of age, and she took up gymnastics in her hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia. She was coached by Gary Rafaloski.
She then decided to move to Houston, Texas, to train under Romanians Béla and Márta Károlyi, who had coached Nadia Comăneci before their defection to the United States. Under the Károlyis, Retton soon began to make a name for herself in the U.S., winning the American Cup in 1983 and placing second to Dianne Durham (another Károlyi student) at the US Nationals that same year. Though Retton missed the World Gymnastics Championships in 1983 due to a wrist injury, she won the American Classic in 1983 and 1984, as well as Japan’s Chunichi Cup in 1983.
Retton performing splits on a balance beam, 1985
After winning her second American Cup, the U.S. Nationals, and the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1984, Retton suffered a knee injury when she was performing a floor routine at a local gymnastics center at this time.
She had sat down to sign autographs when she felt her knee lock, forcing her to undergo an operation five weeks prior to the 1984 Summer Olympics, which were going to be held in Los Angeles—the first time the Summer Olympics had been held in the United States in 52 years. She recovered just in time for this most prestigious of tournaments, and in the competition, which was boycotted by the Soviet bloc nations except for Romania, Retton was engaged in a close battle with Ecaterina Szabo of Romania for the all-around gold medal.
Trailing Szabo (after uneven bars and balance beam) by 0.15 with two events to go, Retton scored perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault—the last event in an especially dramatic fashion, as there had been fears that her knee injury and the subsequent surgery might impair her performance. Retton won the all-around gold medal by 0.05 points, beating Szabo to become the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the individual all-around gold.
She also became the first American woman to be an Olympic all-around champion – an honor she held alone until the ongoing five-peat of American all-around champions (in order: Carly Patterson in 2004 in Athens, Nastia Liukin in 2008 in Beijing, Gabby Douglas in 2012 in London, Simone Biles in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro and Suni Lee in 2021 in Tokyo