Mary Lou Retton, America’s Olympian Sweetheart in Critical Battle with Rare Pneumonia



by NOUMAN RASOOL

Mary Lou Retton, America’s Olympian Sweetheart in Critical Battle with Rare Pneumonia
© Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In a heartfelt revelation on social media, the daughter of Mary Lou Retton, the five-time Olympic medalist, disclosed her mother's harrowing battle with an unusual strain of pneumonia. This athletic luminary, once named "America's sweetheart" following her spellbinding gold medal triumph at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, is reportedly "fighting for her life." At just 16, Retton's unparalleled performance included scoring flawless 10s in both the floor exercise and vault during the final phases, clinching her the honor of becoming the first American woman to seize the Olympic all-around title.

That remarkable year, she brought home a medley of five medals: one gold, two silver, and two bronze. McKenna Kelley, Mary Lou’s dedicated daughter, took to the digital realm to not only share her mother's perilous health condition but also to set up a donation page in a bid to gather financial support.

While safeguarding her family's privacy and refraining from disclosing intricate details, Kelley revealed that her mother, unfortunately, lacks medical insurance, a reality for many in America. As she penned, “She’s been in the ICU for over a week now.

Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details. However, she [is] not insured."

Fundraiser Exceeds Expectations

The fundraiser experienced an overwhelming response, with the tally standing at an impressive $380,000 from over 6,800 compassionate donors as of Thursday evening, substantially surpassing its initial aim of $50,000.

A deeply moved Kelley extended her heartfelt gratitude on social media for the "outpouring of love," updating well-wishers about Retton's ongoing ICU care and the exceptional medical attention she’s receiving. In light of this situation, the U.S.

Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has promptly mobilized. A statement by Kate Hartman, a USOPC spokesperson, to USA Today confirmed their commitment to aid athletes in distressing circumstances. “The USOPC supports the United States Olympians & Paralympians Relief Fund to aid U.S.

Olympians and Paralympians facing significant challenges due to illness or other extenuating situations,” she said. After being apprised of Retton’s situation, the committee is vigorously working to expedite the aid process from the United States Olympians & Paralympians Relief Fund to ensure that she receives the much-needed support.