Olympic Champion Mary Lou Retton Battles Rare Pneumonia, Daughter Says

Olympic Champion Mary Lou Retton Battles Rare Pneumonia, Daughter Says
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Mary Lou Retton, the First American Woman to Win Olympic All-Around Gymnastics Gold, Faces Life-Threatening Illness, Daughter Reveals in Fundraising Appeal.

Her mother is fighting “A very rare form of pneumonia”  and “able to breathe on her own ‘Mckenna Lane kelly.Retton has spent over a week in the ICU, without insurance, and chose not to elaborate further on her condition.

The proceeds from the fundraiser are expected to cover Mary Lou Retton’s hospital bills.

Kelley, the second of Retton’s four daughters, pursued gymnastics at LSU from 2016 to 2019.

Mary Lou Retton maintains her iconic status in American gymnastics.

Mary Lou Retton became an icon at the 1984 Summer Olympics, winning the all-around gold, plus silver in team and vault, and bronze in floor exercise and uneven bars. 

Her victory ended an 80-year American gold medal drought since Julius Lenhart’s 1904 win, despite Lenhart representing the United States as an Austrian citizen. Retton’s historic win came after knee surgery just five weeks earlier, with a perfect 10 on the vault securing her the gold.

This victory occurred during a period of Soviet gymnastics dominance, but the Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles Games. 

It wasn’t until 2004 that American gymnasts Paul Hamm and Carly Patterson both won the coveted all-around gold, highlighting Retton’s lasting impact on the sport.

Mary Lou Retton’s legacy continues to shape the landscape of American gymnastics. 

She paved the way for subsequent American women to secure Olympic all-around gold, including Nastia Liukin in 2008, Gabby Douglas in 2012, Simone Biles in 2016, and Sunisa Lee in 2020. 

Led by Biles, the American gymnastics team aims to uphold this tradition at the upcoming Paris Olympics.