Mary Lou Retton, a former American gymnast, became the first American woman to win the all-around gold medal in Olympic gymnastics in the 1984 Summer Olympics.
But her daughter McKenna Lane Kelley said that Retton is in critical care at the hospital, suffering from a severe type of pneumonia.
Retton has spent over a week in the intensive care unit (ICU) since she is unable to breathe on her own and she does not have insurance. Since Kelley needs help breathing, she has asked for prayers and financial support.
Mary Lou Retton, a gymnast, became well-known when she won the American Cup in 1983 and the U.S. Nationals the following year under the tutelage of renowned Romanian coach Béla Károlyi.
Retton won the women's all-around gymnastics gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, thanks in large part to a faultless performance on the vault. For the first time, a gymnast from a region other than Eastern Europe took home the gold.
After capturing five gold at the Olympics, Retton was dubbed "America's Sweetheart" and crowned Sports Illustrated's Sportswoman of the Year. Her association with gymnastics continued after her 1986 retirement, when she began commentating on the sport and later became a sought-after spokeswoman and motivational speaker.
Mary Lou Retton was the first American woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in gymnastics. She was born on January 24, 1968, in Fairmont, West Virginia. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Retton won the all-around exercises competition after scoring a perfect 10 in both the floor exercise and vault.
At age 4, Retton started training in ballet and acrobatics; a year later, she began gymnastics. She relocated to Houston, Texas in 1983 to train with Bela Karolyi, who coached her to find a technique that worked with her small yet powerful form. Retton's innovative approach demonstrated speed, precision, and force in contrast to the fluttering, balletic motions previously typical in floor-event performance, and she revolutionized women's gymnastics.
As the first American to win the combined-events championship at the Chunichi Cup in Japan (1983), Retton had success in major competitions in the United States and across the world in the early 1980s. She swept the vault, floor exercise, and all-around titles in the 1984 U.S. national championships. She debuted in the Olympics later that year.
When Retton went into the final rotation of the all-around competition, she trailed the Romanian team's Ecaterina Szabo by 0.05 points and required a perfect 10 on the vault to win the gold. She nailed the twisting layout back somersault known as the Tsukahara vault and took home the gold.
She also won silver on the vault, bronze on the uneven parallel bars, and silver on the floor exercise, and she led the U.S. women's team to its first medal since 1948. After the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Retton announced her retirement. She was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985, making history as the first gymnast to do so.
In his post-playing life, Retton found success as an inspirational speaker and TV pundit. She also dabbled in acting, making guest appearances on episodes including Knots Landing and Baywatch. In addition, she had brief appearances in the films Scrooged (1988) and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994). She competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2018.
Mary Lou Retton was born on January 24, 1968, to parents Ronnie and Lois in Fairmont, West Virginia. Her father was an athletic superstar who started his career in professional baseball after leading the West Virginia University basketball team to the 1959 NCAA championship. After that, he ran a business manufacturing tools for use in coal mines. Mary Lou has an elder sister named Shari and three older brothers named Ronnie Jr., Donnie, and Jerry.
Retton fell in love with gymnastics at a young age after seeing Romanian prodigy Nadia Comaneci win three gold medals and post seven perfect scores at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. She studied in acrobatics with a local teacher at a dance school, but her parents eventually realized that she needed more specialized guidance in order to attain her full potential.
Retton relocated to Houston in the early 1980s to work with Béla Károlyi, the same highly regarded Romanian coach who had worked with Comaneci. She won numerous major contests under his tutelage, including the American Cup in 1983 and the U.S. Nationals the following year.
At the age of eight, Retton was inspired to take up gymnastics after witnessing Nadia Comăneci beat reigning Olympic two-event champion Olga Korbut on television at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Gary Rafaloski acted as her coach.
She then relocated to Houston, Texas to train with Béla and Márta Károlyi, Romanians who had trained Nadia Comăneci before to their defection to the United States and Nadia's subsequent success.
Retton quickly rose to prominence in the United States after training with the Károlyis, where she won the American Cup in 1983 and finished second in the US Nationals that year, behind fellow Károlyi pupil Dianne Durham.
In 1983, Retton had a wrist injury that prevented her from competing in the World Gymnastics Championships. Despite this, she went on to win the American Classic twice and the Chunichi Cup in Japan.
At the time, Retton was doing a floor routine at a local gymnastics club after winning her second American Cup, the U.S. Nationals, and the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1984. Her knee locked when she sat down to sign autographs, and she underwent surgery five weeks before the 1984 Summer Olympics, which were being staged in Los Angeles for the first time in the United States in 52 years.
She made a full recovery in time for the most important competition, when she was locked in a tight struggle with Romania's Ecaterina Szabo for the all-around gold medal. The Soviet bloc countries boycotted the event. After the uneven bars and balancing beam, Retton was 0.15 points behind Szabo.
However, she achieved a perfect 10 in the next two events, floor exercise and vault, the latter in particularly dramatic way because to concerns that her knee injury and subsequent surgery may hinder her performance. By defeating Szabo by a mere 0.05 points, Retton became the first gymnast from a region outside of Eastern Europe to win the all-around gold medal.
She also won the all-around title at the Olympics, a feat no other American woman had accomplished until the current streak of five consecutive U.S. winners (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).
Silver in the team competition and bronze in the horse vault and floor exercise and uneven bars were the other medals Retton earned at those same Olympics. As a result of her efforts, she was recognized as Sports Illustrated's "Sportswoman of the Year." She was the first ever spokesperson for Wheaties, appearing on the cereal's packaging.
For the third and last time, Retton took first place in the American Cup all-around competition in 1985. In 1986, she hung up her spurs for good.
Mary Lou Retton is performing in Olympic.
Hip dysplasia, which Retton had from birth, worsened throughout her time as a professional gymnast. She had left hip replacement surgery in her mid-30s since the issue had become more painful.
Retton and her family moved back to West Virginia from Houston, Texas, in 2009. In 2012, she made her way back to Houston. She wed Houston real estate developer and former University of Texas quarterback Shannon Kelley in 1990; he later joined the sports department at Houston Baptist University. Shayla (born 1995), McKenna (born 1997), Skyla (born 2000), and Emma (born 2002) are their four children.
Former LSU gymnast McKenna and current U of A gymnast Emma are both members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. In February of 2018, Retton and Kelley divorced.
McKenna, Retton's daughter, shared the devastating news that her mother had pneumonia on October 10, 2023. Crowdfunding was apparently used by Retton to cover her medical bills since she lacked health insurance.
Retton's hip issue became worse when she retired and had her first child. "One of the big red flags was when I literally can't get on the floor to play Barbies or dolls with my children," she said. That's a huge warning sign. Just a curious observer here.
Retton was ultimately determined to have hip dysplasia, which means that her hip joint formed improperly from birth. This, in addition to the many vaults and handsprings she executed over her career, led to the latter stages of arthritis in her hip. She had hip replacement surgery in 2005.
Back surgery brought on by degenerative bone disease was one of 19 operations Retton admitted to in 2016.
McKenna, Retton's daughter, shared the news that her mother was in the critical care unit in October 2023, hospitalized with a rare kind of pneumonia and unable to breathe on her own.
The family had hoped to raise $50,000, but that amount was immediately exceeded. To help pay for Retton's medical expenses, she created a crowdfunding campaign.
Mary Lou Retton has been in the intensive care unit (ICU) for over a week due to pneumonia, according to a statement released by her daughter, Kelley.
The gymnastics community is rallying behind Mary Lou Retton, who is fighting for her life in the ICU.
Mary Lou Retton, who competed in five Olympics and won gold in Los Angeles in 1984, earned a total of three medals in those games. There, she made history as the first American woman to win an all-around gold medal.
That victory was a watershed event in the Olympic competition for the United States, and Mary Lou Retton has been held in high esteem ever since. However, gymnastics was not as financially rewarding as it is now.
Mary Lou Retton's present net worth is just 2 million dollars, despite the fact that she achieved well for herself via numerous endorsement agreements.
Mary Lou Retton has achieved great success in her industry, yet she still relies on fan contributions to cover her mounting medical expenses.
The technique that became known as "The Retton Flip" was part of Retton's uneven bars performance. This consisted of a front flip transition from low to high bar, with the gymnast perched or "sitting" on top of the high bar.
Because old-style "belly beat" techniques were no longer performed in bars competitions, this move and many more like it were eliminated from the Code of Points of artistic gymnastics.
According to her daughter, Olympic gold winner Mary Lou Retton is healing and responding to pneumonia therapy. "Although she remains in ICU, her recovery is progressing steadily." Her fighting spirit shines brightly!" McKenna Kelley said in a Saturday update.
McKenna Kelley, one of Retton's four kids, issued an update on Instagram Saturday saying Retton's breathing is becoming stronger and her "path to recovery is steadily progressing.
Mary Lou Retton is a five-time Olympic medalist and the first American woman to win an Olympic all-around gold medal. Retton, who was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, made a name for herself in gymnastics by winning the American Cup in 1983.
In a recent and unfortunate turn of events, the iconic U.S. gymnast Mary Lou Retton, aged 55, finds herself in a severe health battle. Her daughter, McKenna Lane Kelley, shared a distressing update on October 10, revealing that her mother is hospitalized in intensive care, fighting a rare form of pneumonia.
This revelation came via an Instagram story where she humbly requested prayers and assistance with medical expenses. Complicating this situation further is the fact that the 1984 Olympic gold medalist lacks insurance. According to McKenna, Mary Lou Retton has been unable to breathe unaided, and her battle in the ICU has endured for over a week.
Mary Lou Retton, celebrated for her outstanding contributions to the world of gymnastics, is currently facing an unprecedented health challenge. Our thoughts and well-wishes go out to this remarkable athlete during her time of need.
For those who wish to learn more about Mary Lou Retton's extraordinary journey and achievements, you can explore her remarkable career, her family, and her inspiring impact on the world of gymnastics.