Olympic Gymnastics Legend Mary Lou Retton Battles Rare Pneumonia

Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton, the iconic Olympic gold medalist and celebrated gymnast, is facing serious health struggles, according to her daughter, McKenna Kelley. Kelley took to her Instagram story on Tuesday to share the news that her 55-year-old mother is gravely ill, and needs help paying for medical expenses as she does not have health insurance.

Mary Lou Retton

Kelley said Retton has been diagnosed with “a very rare form of pneumonia” and has been in the intensive care unit at an undisclosed hospital for more than a week “not able to breathe on her own”. She added: “Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details. However, I will disclose that she not insured.”

She asked her followers to pray for her mother and to donate to a fundraising campaign on Spotfund, a platform that allows users to raise money for various causes. The campaign, titled “MaryLouRettonsFight”, has raised over $200,000 as of Wednesday morning, surpassing its initial goal of $100,000.

Retton’s Glorious Career and Legacy

Retton became a household name during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles – winning more medals (5) than any other athlete during those games. Her icon status was solidified when Retton scored perfect scores on the vault and floor routine en route to becoming the first US woman to earn an Olympic gold in the individual all-around event.

Retton was also the first American woman to win the all-around gold at the World Championships in 1983. She won a total of eight medals at the world level, including two golds, two silvers, and four bronzes. She was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year in 1984 and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.

Retton inspired generations of young gymnasts with her charismatic personality and dazzling performances. She is widely regarded as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time and a pioneer of women’s sports in the US. She also served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under US president George W Bush.

Retton’s Personal Life and Challenges

Retton was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, and started gymnastics at the age of eight. She moved to Houston, Texas, at 14 to train with legendary coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi. She overcame several injuries and surgeries throughout her career, including a knee operation just six weeks before the 1984 Olympics.

Retton married Shannon Kelley, a former quarterback at the University of Texas, in 1990. They have four daughters, all of whom are involved in sports. McKenna Kelley followed her mother’s footsteps and became a gymnast at Louisiana State University. She competed in the NCAA championships in 2019 and helped her team finish second.

Retton revealed in 2018 that she had divorced Kelley after 27 years of marriage. She said it was one of the hardest decisions of her life and that she struggled with depression and anxiety. She also admitted that she had body image issues after retiring from gymnastics and that she had undergone plastic surgery to enhance her appearance.

Fans and Friends Show Support and Love

Many fans and friends of Retton have expressed their support and love for the Olympic legend on social media. They have shared their memories of watching her compete, their admiration for her achievements, and their wishes for her recovery.

Some of the notable figures who have sent their messages include fellow gymnasts Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross, Laurie Hernandez, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian, Maggie Nichols, MyKayla Skinner, Sunisa Lee; Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps; actress Jennifer Garner; singer Kelly Clarkson; TV host Ellen DeGeneres; and former president Barack Obama.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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