December 1, 2023

Mary Lou Retton, who turned one of the crucial common athletes within the nation after successful the all-around girls’s gymnastics competitors on the 1984 Summer season Olympics in Los Angeles, has pneumonia and is “combating for her life” within the intensive care unit, her daughter mentioned in an announcement this week.

Retton’s daughter McKenna Lane Kelley mentioned on Instagram that her mom “will not be in a position to breathe on her personal” and that she had been within the intensive care unit for greater than per week.

Kelley didn’t share extra particular details about her mom’s situation, although she mentioned that her pneumonia was “a really uncommon kind.” It was not clear what hospital Retton was in.

Kelley, who was a gymnast at Louisiana State College, didn’t instantly reply to a message searching for touch upon Tuesday.

On the 1984 Olympics, Retton became the first American woman to win the all-around gold medal or any particular person Olympic medal in gymnastics. Going into the ultimate rotation of the competitors, she was five-hundredths of a degree behind Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo, and the one approach she may beat Szabo was to attain an ideal 10 on vault.

Retton scored an ideal 10.

She gained 5 medals in Los Angeles, together with two silvers, for crew and vault, and two bronzes, for uneven bars and ground train.

Although there was an asterisk by Retton’s victory within the historical past books — the Soviet Union, which was probably the most dominant power in girls’s gymnastics on the time, boycotted the 1984 Video games — it nonetheless made her a sports activities hero in the USA. Along with incomes her the normal trappings of Olympic gold, like showing on a Wheaties field, she was extensively considered as an inspiration to a brand new technology of American ladies getting into gymnastics.

Even because the American gymnastics program grew and the nation gained extra medals, together with the crew gold in 1996, Retton’s prominence remained: For 20 years, Retton, now 55, was the one American lady to win the all-around title, till Carly Patterson turned the second in 2004.

Retton was born in Fairmont, W.Va., and got her start early, like many top gymnasts. By the point Retton was 7 years outdated, she was coaching in gymnastics full-time.

Retton’s expertise had been obvious from the beginning, however an enormous break got here at an Olympics elimination match in Reno, Nev., in 1982, the place she impressed Bela Karolyi, who would go on to teach her within the 1984 Olympics.

“I instantly acknowledged the super bodily potential of this little child,” Karolyi mentioned in a March 1984 interview.

Retton appeared in a number of films and TV shows within the late Eighties and Nineteen Nineties, together with the comedy movie “Scrooged.”

After her athletic profession, Retton turned a motivational speaker to advertise the advantages of correct diet and common train.

Maggie Astor contributed reporting.

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