Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton
“America’s Sweetheart”

When Mary Lou landed her vault in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, her world changed forever. Never before had an American won the all-around gold medal, the most coveted medal in the sport, until her. With her short brown hair and huge smile, American fell in love with the pixie-like Mary Lou, and soon her success would make her a household name.

Mary Lou went on to win four other medals, silver medals in the team and vault competitions and bronze on uneven bars and floor, at the 1984 Olympics. While not a household name at the time (she had never competed at a World Championships or major international event outside of the U.S.) she rose to the opportunity at the Olympics, and solidified herself as a world-class gymnast and sport icon.

After her experience at the Olympics, this American sweetheart made history again while becoming the first woman to appear on the Wheaties box. In 1984 Mary Lou was named Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportswoman of the Year” and The Associated Press’ Amateur Athlete of the Year.

Mary Lou was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997. She has since been involved in gymnastics as a T.V. commentator. Her and her husband, Shannon Kelly, have four daughters.
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