Mary Lou Retton Illness: Know about Mary Lou Retton’s battle with a rare form of pneumonia, her hospitalization, and the ongoing health challenges she faces, stay informed about her condition and the support for her medical expenses.
Who is Mary Lou Retton?
Mary Lou Retton is a renowned American retired gymnast who achieved great fame for her remarkable achievements in the sport. She made history at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where she clinched a gold medal in the individual all-around gymnastics competition, a momentous accomplishment that marked her as the first American woman to achieve such an honor in Olympic gymnastics. This extraordinary feat, accompanied by her two silver medals and two bronze medals in the same Olympics, catapulted her to immense popularity, making her one of the most beloved and celebrated athletes in the United States.
Retton’s remarkable success in the world of gymnastics not only left an indelible mark on the sport but also served as an inspiration to aspiring athletes, showcasing the extraordinary determination and skill required to reach the pinnacle of athletic excellence. Her legacy endures as a testament to the strength, grace, and competitive spirit that defined her career and solidified her status as an American sports icon.
Mary Lou Retton Illness
Mary Lou Retton, the iconic American gymnast, is currently battling a severe and rare form of pneumonia. This distressing news was disclosed by her daughter, McKenna Kelley, through an online fundraiser on Tuesday. According to Kelley, Mary Lou is facing a critical situation and is unable to breathe on her own, necessitating her stay in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for over a week. Out of respect for her mother’s privacy, Kelley refrained from sharing specific details about Mary Lou Retton’s condition. However, she did reveal that her mother is not insured, which has added an additional layer of complexity to the situation.
The news of Mary Lou Retton’s illness has sparked an outpouring of support and well-wishes from her fans and the public. Many individuals have rallied together to contribute to an online fundraiser created to help cover the medical expenses associated with her treatment. As of Tuesday evening, this fundraiser had surpassed its initial goal of $50,000, amassing more than $72,000, which speaks to the deep admiration and affection that people have for the gymnastics legend.
Mary Lou Retton Career
Mary Lou Retton’s illustrious gymnastics career is marked by dedication, resilience, and a trailblazing spirit. Her journey in the sport began when she was inspired by the performance of Nadia Comăneci at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, watching on television when she was just eight years old. Hailing from Fairmont, West Virginia, she commenced her gymnastics training in her hometown under the guidance of coach Gary Rafaloski.
In pursuit of excellence, Retton made a pivotal decision to move to Houston, Texas, where she trained under the renowned Romanian coaches, Béla and Márta Károlyi, who had previously coached Nadia Comăneci. Under the Károlyis’ tutelage, she rapidly ascended in the U.S. gymnastics scene. Her achievements included winning the American Cup in 1983 and securing a second-place finish at the US Nationals the same year.
Though a wrist injury forced her to miss the World Gymnastics Championships in 1983, she continued to shine, triumphing in the American Classic in 1983 and 1984, as well as Japan’s Chunichi Cup in 1983. Retton’s journey to the 1984 Summer Olympics faced a critical juncture when she suffered a knee injury during a floor routine. Despite the odds, she underwent successful surgery and recovered just in time for the Los Angeles Olympics, the first held in the United States in over half a century.
Her performance at the 1984 Summer Olympics was nothing short of extraordinary. Engaging in a tight contest with Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo for the all-around gold, Retton, trailing by a mere 0.15 points after uneven bars and balance beam, staged a remarkable comeback. She scored perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault, securing the individual all-around gold medal by a narrow 0.05-point margin. In doing so, Mary Lou Retton became the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to achieve this honor and the first American woman to win an Olympic all-around gold.
Retton’s accomplishments at the 1984 Olympics extended beyond the all-around gold, as she also earned silver in the team competition and the horse vault, and bronze in the floor exercise and uneven bars. Her exceptional performance earned her the title of Sports Illustrated Magazine’s “Sportswoman of the Year,” and she graced the cover of a Wheaties cereal box, becoming the brand’s first official spokeswoman. In 1985, she secured victory in the American Cup all-around competition for the third time, solidifying her legacy as a gymnastics legend. Retton chose to retire from competitive gymnastics in 1986, leaving an indelible mark on the sport and inspiring generations of athletes with her remarkable achievements and determination.
Mary Lou Retton Early Life and Family
Mary Lou Retton, born on January 24, 1968, in Fairmont, West Virginia, had her roots in a small-town upbringing. Her father, Ronnie, was involved in the coal-industry transportation equipment business, providing a glimpse into the blue-collar background of her family. While she attended Fairmont Senior High School, it’s noteworthy that she did not graduate from high school, as her gymnastics career took precedence.
Mary Lou’s early dedication to gymnastics was evident as she competed in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, during her sophomore year of high school, showcasing her exceptional talent and determination at a young age. Throughout her life, she experienced a degree of geographic mobility. She resided in Houston, Texas, until 2009, when her family relocated to West Virginia, only to return to Houston in 2012, as she pursued various endeavors and continued to make a significant impact on the world of gymnastics.
Mary Lou Retton Ex-Husband
Mary Lou Retton’s former husband is Shannon Kelley, who was a former University of Texas quarterback and a Houston real estate developer. After his football career, Shannon transitioned into the field of real estate development. He later found employment in the athletic department of Houston Baptist University. However, their marriage eventually came to an end, as they divorced in February 2018. The details surrounding the separation and the reasons for their divorce are private matters, not disclosed in the provided information. Nonetheless, their marriage and subsequent separation represent a significant aspect of Mary Lou Retton’s personal life.
Mary Lou Retton Children
Mary Lou Retton and her former husband, Shannon Kelley, are proud parents to four daughters. Their children, in birth order, are Shayla (born in 1995), McKenna (born in 1997), Skyla (born in 200
0), and Emma (born in 2002). The family has a deep connection to sports, and all of Mary Lou’s daughters have, in one way or another, followed in her footsteps.
Shayla, the eldest, ventured into the world of athletics as a former member of Baylor University’s Acrobatics and Tumbling team. McKenna, a former NCAA gymnast, showcased her skills as a member of the LSU Tigers gymnastics team. Skyla, the third daughter, found her passion in competitive cheerleading. Emma, the youngest, continued the family’s legacy in gymnastics, competing for the University of Arkansas gymnastics team.
This athletic lineage highlights the influence and inspiration that Mary Lou Retton, a celebrated gymnast herself, has had on her daughters, as they pursued diverse paths within the realm of sports and athleticism
Mary Lou Retton Life After Retirement
Following her illustrious gymnastics career, Mary Lou Retton embarked on a multifaceted journey in various spheres of public life, while maintaining her connection to sports and advocacy. Notably, she expressed her political views and became an outspoken supporter of the Reagan administration. Retton appeared in television ads endorsing Ronald Reagan and participated in a rally for his reelection campaign in her home state of West Virginia, just a month after her stellar performance at the 1984 Olympics. Her patriotic spirit was also on display when she delivered the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2004 Republican National Convention alongside fellow former gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Kerri Strug.
Retton received numerous non-sports honors throughout her life, including her hometown, Fairmont, West Virginia, naming a road and park after her. She ventured into the world of entertainment with cameo appearances in movies like “Scrooged” and “Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.” In 1985, she was honored with the Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement and was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
Retton’s enduring popularity was underscored in 1993 when she was statistically tied with fellow Olympian Dorothy Hamill as one of the most beloved athletes in America, as per an Associated Press sports study. In 1997, she earned her place in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. In January 2020, Mary Lou Retton made history as the first woman to be inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame.
Additionally, Retton embraced commercial endorsements, including working as a spokeswoman for Revco, a U.S. drugstore chain, during the 1990s. She made history as the first female athlete to grace the front of a Wheaties cereal box, a feat that General Mills noted led to improved Wheaties sales. In 2019, she became a spokesperson for Australian Dream, a pain relief cream. Mary Lou Retton continued her involvement in the world of gymnastics as a frequent analyst for televised gymnastics events. Her academic pursuits led her to attend The University of Texas at Austin after her Olympic career.
However, her life after retirement also intersected with a deeply troubling chapter in the world of gymnastics. In 2016, she found herself in the midst of the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal. She, along with other members of USA Gymnastics, met with Senator Dianne Feinstein to voice their concerns regarding the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, with the aim of convincing her to withdraw the bill. Despite their efforts, the bill was signed into law on February 14, 2018, marking a significant development in the ongoing efforts to address issues related to sexual abuse in gymnastics and other sports. Mary Lou Retton’s post-retirement life has been marked by a blend of advocacy, recognition, and active involvement in various aspects of public life.
Mary Lou Retton Age
As of 2023, Mary Lou Retton is 55 years old, marking a significant milestone in her life. Throughout her illustrious career, she achieved remarkable success in the world of gymnastics, particularly at the 1984 Summer Olympics, where she became an iconic figure. Her enduring legacy and contributions to the sport continue to inspire generations of athletes and fans, showcasing that age is no barrier to the impact one can have on the world of sports and beyond. Mary Lou Retton’s journey from a young gymnast to a celebrated athlete remains a testament to her dedication and enduring influence.
Mary Lou Retton Net Worth
Mary Lou Retton has derived her income from various sources over the years. During her competitive gymnastics career, she likely earned income from endorsements, sponsorships, and participation in gymnastics events and competitions. Retton worked as a spokeswoman and appeared in advertisements for various brands and products, including the U.S. drugstore chain Revco, as well as endorsements related to bowling, shampoo, and Wheaties cereal. These endorsement deals contributed significantly to her income.
Mary Lou Retton ventured into the entertainment industry with cameo appearances in movies, such as “Scrooged” and “Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.” While these roles may not have been her primary source of income, they added to her overall earnings. Retton continued her involvement in the world of gymnastics as a frequent analyst for televised gymnastics events. This role likely provided her with income and allowed her to share her insights and expertise with audiences.
Former Olympians, especially those with a compelling story like Retton’s, often engage in public speaking engagements, where they are compensated for sharing their experiences and inspiring others. Mary Lou Retton has served as a spokesperson for various products, including pain relief cream, Australian Dream. Such spokesperson roles can be financially rewarding. Retton’s achievements and honors, such as the Golden Plate Award and inductions into various sports halls of fame, may have come with financial benefits and opportunities for speaking engagements.