Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton ‘Fighting for her Life’ With Rare Form of Pneumonia

Gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who captured America’s attention while winning the gold medal in the women’s all-around at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, is in intensive care and “fighting for her life” in a Texas hospital, her daughter said Tuesday on social media.

Retton’s daughter McKenna Kelley posted to Instagram on Tuesday, and “is not able to breathe on her own.” Kelley started a fundraising campaign on Retton’s behalf for medical expenses, writing that Retton does not have medical insurance.


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On a fundraising page asking for prayers and donations, Kelley revealed that the 55-year-old tumbler has been in the hospital for over a week with a “very rare form of pneumonia.”

Retton earned five medals and superstar status in 1984 with an unforgettable performance at the Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles. Her fame resulted in multiple endorsement deals including one from Wheaties, which made her the first female athlete to appear on the cover of the cereal’s famous orange box. She can currently be seen in commercials for Colonial Penn Life Insurance.

The West Virginia native also used her celebrity status to support the candidacy of former President Ronald Reagan and later appeared at the Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden in 2004.


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