Mary Lou Retton is a well-known American gymnast who won the Gold medal in the Los Angeles Olympics for individual all-around competition. She also clinched two Silver and two Bronze medals and her scintillating performance made her very popular in the U.S. She also happens to be the first American to clinch a Gold medal for all-round performance in gymnastics, a sport which was dominated by the then USSR and Eastern Europe.
Mary Lou Retton was born Ronnie Retton on January 24th, 1968 in Fairmont, West Virginia. Her father operated a coal-industry transportation equipment business. She finished her schooling at Fairmont Senior High School. However she did not attend college and when she was in her sophomore year of high school, she was competing in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Mary Lou Retton’s Family: Children and Husband
Mary Lou Retton resided in Houston, Texas until 2009 and later moved to West Virginia with her family before returning to Houston in 2012. Her husband Shannon Kelley was a former University of Texas quarterback and Houston real estate developer. At present, he is working for the Houston Baptist University athletic department.
The couple have four daughters named Shayla (born 1995), McKenna (born 1997), Skyla (born 2000), and Emma (born 2002). Mary Lou Retton’s daughter McKenna was an NCAA gymnast at Louisiana State University. Mary Lou Retton divorced her husband in 2018.
Mary Lou Retton Gymnastics career
Retton was greatly inspired after seeing the performance of Nadia Comaneci of Romania and Olga Korbut from the USSR. Retton was only eight years old when she saw the flawless performance of Olga Korbut at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Retton started practicing gymnastics in her hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia and was coached by Gary Rafaloski. Later she moved to Texas to train under the legendary Romanian Béla and Márta Károlyi, the famous duo who had trained Nadia Comăneci before their defection to the United States.
Accolades soon followed and the first major title she won was the American Cup in 1983 and clinched the second position after Dianne Durham who was another Károlyi student, at the US Nationals that same year.
Retton missed the World Gymnastics Championships in 1983 due to a wrist injury but won the American Classic in 1983 and 1984, as well as Japan’s Chunichi Cup in 1983. In 1984 she won the American Cup for the second time in a row and also the U.S. Nationals and the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1984.
A knee injury during a routine practice session resulted in a knee lock and she had to be operated on just five weeks prior to the 1984 Summer Olympics. It was a high-profile event since the Olympics were being held in the US after a period of 52 years. The event was however marred by the boycott by the USSR and the Eastern Bloc countries.
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Retton had to face a tough challenge from Ecaterina Szabo of Romania for the all-around gold medal and ultimately defeated Szabo by a whisker and became the first US athlete to win a gold medal for the event.
Retton also clinched four more medals, two silver and two bronze at the same Olympics and was also named Sports Illustrated Magazine’s “Sportswoman of the Year.”
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Mary Lou Retton’s Recent Health Complications
Mary Lou Retton’s continuous exposure to competitive gymnastics aggravated a rare condition that she suffered from birth which was named hip dysplasia. Ultimately she had to undergo hip replacement surgery on her left hip in her mid-thirties.
On October 10, 2023, Retton’s daughter revealed on social media that Mary Lou Retton was gravely ill and was suffering from a rare form of pneumonia.
How Much is Mary Lou Retton’s Net Worth?
Mary Lou Retton is a retired American gymnast who has a net worth of $2 million. She was the first American to win a gold medal in the Olympics for individual all-around competition. In recent times her daughter revealed that she was suffering from a rare disease and did not have health insurance. A link was also shared by her daughter for fundraising.
|Full Name||Mary Lou Retton|
|Date of Birth||January 24, 1968|
|Place of Birth||Fairmont, West Virginia, United States of America|
|Parents||Father – Ronnie|
|Mother – Lois Retton|
|Education||Fairmont Senior High School (incomplete studies)|
|Gymnastics Career||– Notable achievements include winning the 1983 American Cup.|
|– 1984 Olympics participant, overcoming a knee injury, and winning the all-around gold medal.|
|– Total of five medals in the 1984 Olympics: 1 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze.|
|– Retired in 1986 after winning the 1985 American Cup all-around competition.|
|Later Life||– Supported President Ronald Reagan’s campaigns.|
|– Appeared in movies ‘Scrooged’ and ‘Naked Gun 33?: The Final Insult’.|
|– Endorsements for Revco and Wheaties cereal box.|
|– Hosted TV program ‘ABC Funfit’ in 1985 and ‘Mary Lou’s Flip Flop Shop’ in 2002.|
|Awards & Achievements||– Named ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ by Sports Illustrated in 1984.|
|– ‘Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year’ in 1984.|
|– Inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.|