The Sports activities Archives – Gymnastics Greats: Mary Lou Retton

mary lou retton

The primary American to win the all-round gymnastics medal on the Olympics, together with being one of many best gymnasts the nation has ever produced, Mary Lou Retton will at all times have a particular place in sports activities historical past. The 1984 Summer time Olympics had been her shining second – the second when Mary Lou confirmed the world what she may do on the gymnastics ground. Apart from her all-round gold medal at these video games, she additionally gained a few silver and bronze medals for her nation. Solely 4 People have matched Retton’s feat for the reason that 1984 Olympics, highlighting her uncooked expertise and dedication to the game.

Mary Lou Retton’s Gymnastics Journey

Born in West Virginia, Mary Lou Retton had a relatively easy childhood. Her dad labored within the coal trade, however her mother and father had been at all times fast to acknowledge their daughter’s skills. They knew she had the potential to change into a gymnastics star from a really younger age, which is why Retton started coaching since 1976. She was solely eight on the time, however having watched the 1976 Summer time Olympics on tv, she was mesmerized by the game, and he or she was decided to change into successful at it. Her first main success got here in 1983, when she gained the American Cup and completed second at the USA Nationals. She was unable to contend within the World Championships that very same yr on account of an damage, however she had already introduced herself to the gymnastics world.

The beginning of 1984 proved very profitable for Mary Lou Retton. Not solely did she declare her place on the Olympic crew, however she additionally gained the American Cup and the U.S. Nationals. Nevertheless, she suffered a knee damage whereas signing autographs throughout certainly one of her coaching periods at her native health club. What initially appeared like an innocuous damage become a critical matter, and Mary Lou Retton needed to undergo knee surgical procedure lower than 5 months earlier than the beginning of the Summer time Olympics in 1984!

Possibly specialists had not given her an opportunity of returning to her earlier type. They felt that even when she competed in these Olympics in Los Angeles, she could be a shadow of her former self. Nevertheless, Retton was decided to make impression, and her coaches and trainers did every thing potential to get her in the suitable situation for the video games. And Retton managed to show everybody flawed, profitable the general medal and changing into the primary one that was not from Japanese Europe to win the general gold at a gymnastics occasion!

Mary Lou Retton finally retired from gymnastics in 1986, with accidents taking their toll on her performances and physique. She bowed out after profitable the American Cup for a 3rd time in 1985, however she by no means managed to compete in one other Olympic Video games. As an alternative, she devoted her life to philanthropy, and he or she even dabbled in a little bit little bit of politics. Given how essential her faith was to her life, it’s no shock Mary Lou Retton was an enormous fan of the Republican Social gathering – and of Ronald Reagan!