Gymnast Mary Lou Retton Battling Rare Form of Pneumonia

News of gymnast Mary Lou Retton’s recent health struggles has come as a shock to her fans and the sporting community. The Olympic gold medalist, who won the hearts of millions during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, is currently in intensive care and fighting for her life in a Texas hospital. At 55 years old, Retton is battling a very rare form of pneumonia that has left her unable to breathe on her own.

The gravity of Retton’s condition was revealed by her daughter, McKenna Kelley, in an emotional Instagram post. Kelley shared that her mother has been in intensive care for over a week and emphasized the severity of her condition. She also disclosed that Retton does not have medical insurance, prompting Kelley to start a fundraising campaign to raise funds for her mother’s medical expenses.

Mary Lou Retton made history in 1984 when she became the first American, male or female, to win an Olympic medal in gymnastics. Her dazzling performance in the women’s all-around competition captivated audiences worldwide. Retton, a native of Fairmont, West Virginia, impressed judges and spectators alike with her strength, energy, and remarkable physicality.

Retton’s road to gold was not an easy one. She faced stiff competition from Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo throughout the competition. Despite a few missteps on the balance beam, Retton recovered on the floor exercise, earning a perfect score of 10.0. As she entered her final rotation, she trailed Szabo by a mere .050 points. Retton needed a near-perfect score of 9.95 to tie for gold or a perfect 10.0 to claim victory outright. With unwavering determination, Retton confidently declared, “I’m going to stick it,” to her coach Bela Karolyi. And she did just that, executing a perfect full-twisting layout double on the vault and securing a well-deserved 10.0.

Mary Lou Retton’s triumph at the 1984 Olympics solidified her place in gymnastic history. Her success paved the way for a new generation of gymnasts who sought to emulate her strength, grace, and impeccable performances. Retton’s accomplishments did not go unnoticed, as she was recognized as the Associated Press amateur athlete of the year in 1984. She was later inducted into the USOC Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985 and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997. Furthermore, Retton holds the distinction of being the first woman to grace the cover of a Wheaties box.

Beyond her athletic achievements, Mary Lou Retton is a devoted mother of four. Her current struggle with pneumonia is a sobering reminder that health can be unpredictable and that even icons face challenges. As fans and supporters of Retton, let’s come together to help alleviate the financial burden of her medical expenses during this difficult time. The world is rooting for her recovery, as she remains a true inspiration to all who have watched her perform with unwavering determination and grace.


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