Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton “Fighting For Her Life” In ICU

According to a fundraiser shared by her daughter, Mary Lou Retton, the first American woman to secure all-around gymnastics gold at the Olympics, is in a life-threatening battle against a severe illness.

McKenna Lane Kelley revealed her mother's "very rare pneumonia," noting her inability to breathe unassisted. Retton's been in the ICU for over a week, uninsured, with limited details provided.

Reportedly, the funds raised will be allocated towards covering Retton's medical expenses. Kelley, the second of Retton's four daughters, pursued gymnastics at LSU from 2016 to 2019.

In the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Retton achieved iconic  status by securing all-around gold, along with silver in the team and  vault events, and bronze in floor exercise and uneven bars. 

It marked not only the first all-around gold for an American woman but also the first for any American athlete since Julius Lenhart in 1904.

It's worth mentioning that Lenhart, who represented the United States,  was originally an Austrian citizen competing through an American  gymnastics club during the early years of the modern Olympics. 

In a thrilling moment, Mary Lou Retton, recovering from knee surgery, faced the vault with the need for a perfect 10 to beat Romania's Ecaterina Szabo. She delivered flawlessly, securing the gold.

This victory occurred at a time when the Soviet Union had a strong presence in gymnastics, but they were boycotting the Los Angeles Games.

It wasn't until 2004 that another American secured all-around gymnastics gold, with Paul Hamm and Carly Patterson both clinching this prestigious medal.

Retton's legacy is evident in the transformation of American gymnastics. After her, five American women have claimed Olympic all-around gold: Patterson, Liukin in 2008, Douglas in 2012, Biles in 2016, and Lee in 2020.