Mary Lou Retton, the first American woman to win an all-around gymnastics gold at the Olympics, is currently in critical condition, facing a rare form of pneumonia. Her daughter, McKenna Lane Kelley, has expressed deep concern for her mother’s health, emphasizing the severity of the situation.
Details of the Illness
According to Kelley, Retton has been unable to breathe independently and has been under intensive care for over a week. Notably, Retton does not have medical insurance. Consequently, her family has set up a fundraising campaign to cover her medical expenses. As of now, they aim to raise $50,000, and generous donors have already contributed nearly $8,000.
- Retton’s condition: a rare form of pneumonia
- Current location: Intensive Care Unit in a Texas hospital
- Duration: More than a week
- Insurance status: Uninsured
Click here to contribute or learn more about the fundraiser for Retton.
An American Gymnastics Icon
Mary Lou Retton cemented her place in the annals of American sports during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She achieved all-around gold, silver in team and vault events, and bronze in floor exercise and uneven bars. Notably, Retton secured her gold victory after managing a perfect score on her final vault rotation, edging past Ecaterina Szabo of Romania. This triumph was even more remarkable considering she underwent knee surgery a mere five weeks prior to the competition.
- Olympic achievements: First all-around gold for an American woman Additional medals: Silver (team, vault), Bronze (floor exercise, uneven bars)
- Historic context: The first American to achieve this since Julius Lenhart in 1904
Following her Olympic success, Retton was awarded various accolades:
- Sports Illustrated’s “Sportswoman of the Year”
- The first woman to be featured on a Wheaties box
- Inducted into the USOC Olympic Hall of Fame (1985)
- Inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame (1997)
Retton’s legacy continues to influence American gymnastics. Since her monumental achievement, five American women, including the likes of Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee, have secured Olympic all-around golds.
Personal Life & Family
Mary Lou Retton, currently residing in Texas, is a proud mother of four. Her daughter, McKenna Lane Kelley, who broke the news of Retton’s illness, was also a gymnast, competing for LSU between 2016 and 2019. The family has asked for privacy during this challenging time, emphasizing prayer and financial support for the ailing gymnastics legend.
A Legacy Beyond Medals
Retton’s achievements on the global stage have made her much more than just an athlete. She became an embodiment of resilience, determination, and the American dream. Her story is not just one of talent but of tenacity. Recovering from knee surgery and still managing to secure gold under such pressure speaks volumes about her character and commitment to her sport.
Reactions from the Gymnastics Community
The gymnastics community has been unanimous in expressing their support for Retton. Former competitors, coaches, and up-and-coming gymnasts have taken to social media to send well wishes, share personal anecdotes, and highlight the lasting impact she has had on the sport.
Bela Karolyi, Retton’s former coach, reflected on her iconic 1984 victory, stating, “Mary Lou redefined the sport. She brought a combination of strength, grace, and a relentless spirit that set the stage for future generations.”
The outpouring from the community is a testament to the mark she left, not just as a competitor, but as a mentor, role model, and friend to many.
Right now, Mary Lou Retton – the undeniable heartbeat of American gymnastics – is pulling out all the stops in her current health scuffle. The whole country is on tenterhooks, praying fervently for her speedy recovery. Her amazing feats have not only painted the U.S. with honor, but they’ve also lit a spark of inspiration in numerous athletes’ hearts far and wide. The swell of aid she’s receiving, both heartfelt sentiments and monetary donations, further proves the lasting imprint she’s managed to etch on the vast canvas of sports.