McKenna Lane Kelley said her mother has “a very rare form of pneumonia” and is “not able to breathe on her own.” She said Retton has been in the ICU for more than a week and is not insured but declined to go into further details.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will reportedly go to Retton’s hospital bills.
Kelley is the second of Retton’s four daughters and was a gymnast herself at LSU from 2016 to 2019.
Mary Lou Retton remains an American gymnastics icon
In addition to being the first all-around gold for an American woman, it was the first by any American competitor since Julius Lenhart in 1904. It should be noted that Lenhart represented the United States but was an Austrian citizen competing through an American gymnastics club in the modern Olympics’ early days.
The long-awaited victory was particularly dramatic, as Retton, who had undergone knee surgery only five weeks prior, entered her final rotation needing a perfect 10 on the vault to beat Ecaterina Szabo of Romania. Retton stuck her landing to win gold.
Then she did it again:
That win came during a period of gymnastics dominance by the Soviet Union, but the country was boycotting the Los Angeles Games. No American won gymnastics all-around gold again until 2004, when Paul Hamm and Carly Patterson both won the sport’s most prestigious medal.
Retton’s legacy can be seen in what American gymnastics has since become. Patterson was the first of five American women to win Olympic all-around gold, followed by Nastia Liukin in 2008, Gabby Douglas in 2012, Simone Biles in 2016 and Sunisa Lee in 2020. The Americans, led again by Biles, will attempt to continue that streak next year in Paris.
Christine Lake is a sports fanatic who lives and breathes athletics. With an extensive background in sports journalism, he covers everything from major league championships to grassroots sports events. When she’s not on the field or at the stadium, you’ll find Christine coaching youth sports teams.