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 all the time have a particular place in sports activities historical past. The 1984 Summer time Olympics have been her shining second – the second when Mary Lou confirmed the world what she may do on the gymnastics flooring. 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 Individuals 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 reasonably easy childhood. Her dad labored within the coal trade, however her dad and mom have been all the time 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 she or he 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 america Nationals. She was unable to contend within the World Championships that very same 12 months because of an harm, 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 staff, however she additionally gained the American Cup and the U.S. Nationals. Nonetheless, she suffered a knee harm whereas signing autographs throughout certainly one of her coaching classes at her native fitness center. What initially appeared like an innocuous harm become a severe 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!

Perhaps consultants had not given her an opportunity of returning to her earlier kind. They felt that even when she competed in these Olympics in Los Angeles, she could be a shadow of her former self. Nonetheless, Retton was decided to make a great impression, and her coaches and trainers did all the things doable to get her in the appropriate situation for the video games. And Retton managed to show everybody flawed, profitable the general medal and turning into the primary one that was not from Jap Europe to win the general gold at a gymnastics occasion!

Mary Lou Retton ultimately 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 a substitute, she devoted her life to philanthropy, and she or he even dabbled in a bit little bit of politics. Given how vital 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!