Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton, known for her historic victory at the 1984 Summer Olympics, has broken her silence on her recent health battle. The 55-year-old gymnast revealed that she battled a rare form of pneumonia, leading to her hospitalization in the intensive care unit. Her daughter, McKenna Kelley, initially shared the news, informing the public that Retton was “fighting for her life” and requested financial assistance for hospital bills since Retton lacks health insurance. A SpotFund fundraiser exceeded its $50,000 goal, collecting over $455,000 in donations from well-wishers.
Taking to Instagram, Retton expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming support and love she received from people worldwide during her challenging time. She acknowledged feeling blessed and overwhelmed by the outpouring of compassion. The 55-year-old gymnast conveyed her appreciation for the opportunity to make a statement and mentioned her ongoing recovery at home with family. Recognizing the recovery as a long and slow process, Retton maintained a positive outlook.
Retton, who made history in 1984 as the first American woman to win an individual all-around gold medal in gymnastics at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, expressed her love and thanked everyone. She promised to share more information about her health issues when the time is right, expressing a hope to help others facing similar battles. The statement marked Retton’s first communication since her daughter’s major update on October 23, announcing that Retton was back home and in recovery mode. Despite acknowledging the long road ahead, the family expressed gratitude for the support received.
Earlier in the month, Retton faced a setback and was still in the ICU dealing with pneumonia, as shared by her daughter. However, the family noted her progress as truly remarkable, with prayers being felt and answered. Retton’s victory at the 1984 Olympics earned her recognition as “Sportswoman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated, and she became a notable figure by featuring on the Wheaties box.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 31, 2023