Mary Lou Retton, the American gymnastics icon who charmed the world with her incredible talents, is not just a legendary athlete but also a loving mother of four. In a recent turn of events, her daughter, McKenna Kelley, has made a heartfelt revelation about Mary Lou Retton’s health struggle, revealing a rare form of pneumonia that has left her fighting for her life.
Mary Lou Retton Olympic Glory
Mary Lou Retton, born on January 24, 1968, hails from Fairmont, West Virginia. She is an athlete who needs no introduction. Her journey to the pinnacle of gymnastics was sparked by the dazzling performance of Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci during the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
Intrigued and inspired, Retton made the bold decision to move to Houston, Texas, to train with the renowned gymnastics coaches, Béla and Márta Károlyi, who had previously mentored Comăneci in Romania.
Mary Lou Retton’s name is forever etched in Olympic history. She is a five-time Olympic medalist, making her mark at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. At the tender age of 16, she achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first American woman to win a gold medal in the all-around gymnastics competition. This historic win captivated the hearts of not just Americans but people all around the globe.
Retton’s gold medal victory was a testament to her unwavering determination and indomitable spirit. Despite undergoing knee surgery just six weeks before the Olympics, she wowed the world with perfect 10s on the floor exercise and vault. Her stellar performance secured her the coveted all-around title, defeating Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo by a mere 0.05 points.
Alongside this achievement, she also earned a silver medal on the vault and bronze medals in the uneven bars and floor exercise. Notably, she added another silver Olympic medal to her collection in the team event.
Her remarkable achievements did not go unnoticed, as she became a national treasure and one of the most beloved athletes in the United States. In 1984, she was honored as Sports Illustrated’s “Sportswoman of the Year.”
Mary Lou Retton Legacy of Champions
Mary Lou Retton’s legacy continued to shine even after her retirement from gymnastics in 1986. She won the American Cup all-around competition three times, in 1983, 1984, and 1985.
However, she acknowledges that her victory in 1985 held a special place in her heart, as it meant more to her than anything else in her career. It was a stark contrast to her underdog status going into the 1984 Olympics, but she embraced the pressure and emerged victorious.
Mary Lou Retton was not one to hang onto the sport she loved. She retired with the intention of being remembered as a winner and a champion, rather than a struggling, aging athlete who couldn’t let go. Her contributions to gymnastics earned her a spot in the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Hall of Fame in 1985 and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.
Mary Lou Retton Beyond Gymnastics: After her gymnastics career, Retton ventured into the world of television and film. She made appearances in various shows and movies, including “Knots Landing” (1992), “Baywatch” (1993), “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” (1994), and “Glee” (2010). She also graced the dance floor in season 27 of “Dancing With The Stars” and embraced the role of a motivational speaker and television analyst.
Loving Family of Mary Lou Retton
While Mary Lou Retton’s gymnastics career is storied and celebrated, her role as a mother is equally significant. She was married to former University of Texas quarterback Shannon Kelley from 1990 to 2018, and together they share four daughters: Shayla, McKenna, Skyla, and Emma.
Notably, all of her daughters have followed in their mother’s athletic footsteps, continuing the legacy of excellence. Shayla is a former member of Baylor University’s Acrobatics and Tumbling team, McKenna competed for the LSU Tigers gymnastics team, Skyla excels as a competitive cheerleader, and Emma currently competes for the University of Arkansas gymnastics team.
In recent news, Mary Lou Retton’s daughter, McKenna Kelley, shared a deeply personal update on her mother’s health. She disclosed that Mary Lou is battling a rare form of pneumonia and is unable to breathe on her own. The gymnastics legend has been in the ICU for over a week, facing a challenging health crisis.
The family has set up an online fundraiser to cover her medical expenses, and the response from the public has been overwhelming, with donations surpassing the initial $50,000 goal.
As fans and well-wishers rally around the gymnastics legend, it is clear that Mary Lou Retton’s legacy transcends her remarkable achievements on the gymnastics floor. Her enduring spirit and her family’s athletic prowess continue to inspire and unite people, as they come together in support during this difficult time.
In the face of adversity, the Retton family stands strong, reminding us that behind every remarkable athlete is a loving family and a story of resilience that goes beyond medals and trophies. Mary Lou Retton, a champion on and off the mat, remains an inspiration to us all.