Mary Lou Retton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Mary Lou Retton
— Gymnast —
Retton-m.jpg
A portrait of Mary Lou Retton as a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 2004.
Personal information
Full nameMary Lou Retton
Country represented United States
Born(1968-01-24) January 24, 1968 (age 46)
Fairmont, West Virginia
Height4 ft 9 in (1.45 m)
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
Former coach(es)Béla Károlyi, Márta Károlyi
Retired1985
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Mary Lou Retton
— Gymnast —
Retton-m.jpg
A portrait of Mary Lou Retton as a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 2004.
Personal information
Full nameMary Lou Retton
Country represented United States
Born(1968-01-24) January 24, 1968 (age 46)
Fairmont, West Virginia
Height4 ft 9 in (1.45 m)
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
Former coach(es)Béla Károlyi, Márta Károlyi
Retired1985

Mary Lou Retton (born January 24, 1968) is an American former gymnast. At the 1984 Summer Olympics, she won five medals, including gold in the individual all-around competition. Her performance made her one of the most popular athletes in the United States.

Personal life[edit]

Retton was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, of Italian heritage (her family's original surname was "Rotunda").[1] Her father, Ronnie, operated a coal-industry transportation equipment business. She attended Fairmont Senior High School, but did not graduate.[2] She competed in the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles, California during her sophomore year of high school.[3] She is a devout Baptist.[4]

Retton lived in Houston, Texas,[5] until 2009, when her family returned to West Virginia and again moved back to Houston in 2012. She is married to former University of Texas quarterback and Houston real estate developer Shannon Kelley, who now works for the Houston Baptist University athletic department.[6] Together they have four daughters: Shayla Rae Kelley (born 1995), McKenna Lane Kelley (born 1997), Skyla Brae Kelley (born 2000), and Emma Jean Kelley (born 2002).[7]

Gymnastics career[edit]

Inspired by watching Nadia Comăneci on television, Retton took up gymnastics in her hometown of Fairmont. She was coached by Gary Rafaloski. She then decided to move to Houston, Texas, to train under Romanians Béla and Márta Károlyi, who had coached Nadia Comăneci before their defection to the United States. Under the Károlyis, Retton soon began to make a name for herself in the US, winning the American Cup in 1983 and placing second to Dianne Durham (another Károlyi student) at the US Nationals that same year. Retton missed the World Championships in 1983 due to a wrist injury. Nevertheless, Retton won the American Classic in 1983 and 1984, as well as Japan's Chunichi Cup in 1983.

After winning her second American Cup, the US Nationals, and the US Olympic Trials in 1984, Retton suffered a knee injury when she was performing a floor routine at a local gymnastics center. She had sat down to sign autographs when she felt her knee lock, forcing her to undergo an operation five weeks prior to the 1984 Summer Olympics.[8] She recovered just in time for the Olympics in Los Angeles, California. In the competition, which was boycotted by the Soviet bloc nations except for Romania, Retton was engaged in a close battle with Ecaterina Szabo of Romania for the all-around gold medal. Trailing Szabo (after uneven bars and balance beam) by 15 hundredths with two events to go, Retton scored perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault — the last event in an especially dramatic fashion, as there had been fears that her knee injury and the subsequent surgery might impair her performance.[9] Retton won the all-around gold medal by 0.05 points, beating Szabo and becoming the first American to receive the all-around gold medal. She also became the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the individual all-around gold.

At the same Olympics, Retton won four additional medals: silver in the team competition and the horse vault, and bronze in the floor exercise and uneven bars. For her performance, she was named Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportswoman of the Year". She appeared on a Wheaties box, and became the cereal's first official spokeswoman.

Post-gymnastics career[edit]

Retton with President Ronald Reagan and the U.S. Olympic Team, 1984

An ardent Christian conservative, she was an outspoken supporter of the Reagan Administration in the United States. She appeared in a variety of televised ads supporting Ronald Reagan. Retton delivered the Pledge of Allegiance with fellow former gymnast and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Kerri Strug on the second night of the 2004 Republican National Convention.[10]

Retton's hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia, named a road and park in the town after her. She retired from gymnastics after winning an unprecedented third American Cup title in 1985. She later had cameo appearances as herself in Scrooged and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.[11]

During the 1990s, Retton worked as a spokeswoman for the U.S. drugstore chain Revco.[12] Retton was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.[13]

In 1993, the Associated Press released results of a sports study[14] in which Retton was statistically tied for first place with fellow Olympian Dorothy Hamill as the most popular athlete in America.[15]

In 1997, Retton was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.[16]

Retton has many commercial endorsements, including bowling and shampoo.[17] She was the first female athlete to be pictured on the front a Wheaties box, and General Mills stated that Wheaties sales improved after her appearance.[18][19][20] She is a frequent analyst for televised gymnastics and attended The University of Texas at Austin after the Olympics.[21]

TV appearances[edit]

Medical conditions[edit]

Retton was born with hip dysplasia, a condition aggravated by her years as a competitive gymnast. After experiencing increased pain she had hip replacement surgery on her left hip in her mid-30s.[25] Retton also suffered from incontinence due to an overactive bladder,[26][27] arthritis, and hemorrhoids. She serves as a paid spokesperson for Biomet and for Pfizer to publicize treatment for these conditions. In October 2008, she visited the Biomet facility in Warsaw, Indiana and met the machinists who produced her hip implant.[25][28]

Gymnastics legacy[edit]

Retton has an uneven bars move called "The Retton Flip", a transition (front flip) from low- to high-bar, resulting in the gymnast perched or "sitting" on top of the high bar. This move and many others like it are no longer in the Code of Points[citation needed] due to belly beating[clarification needed] no longer in use on bars.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boston.com Local Search — Boston Globe Archives". 
  2. ^ "Mary Lou Retton: Power And Finesse". The New York Times. 1984-03-04. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  3. ^ "Mary Lou Retton: All About Lou". The Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ Ditchfield, Christin (January 19, 2000). "Mary Lou Retton: Role model, mother, Baptist". Baptist Standard. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Doing it her way: Mary Lou Retton teaches healthy attitudes to her kids — and, now, the rest of us". Houston Chronicle. 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  6. ^ "HBU Huskies - Football Names Shannon Kelley Offensive Assistant Coach". Houston Baptist University. May 11, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Biography". Marylouretton.com. Retrieved November 13, 2011. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Mary Lou Retton". The Biography Channel. 
  9. ^ "Mary Lou beams after sticking her vault to capture the all ...". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
  10. ^ "Election 2004: Republican Convention Schedule and Viewer's Guide". New York Times. 2004-09-01. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  11. ^ "Mary Lou Retton". Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  12. ^ "Retton joins with Revco in promotional effort.". Chain Drug Review. 1990-09-10. Retrieved 2008-08-14. [dead link]
  13. ^ National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame[dead link]
  14. ^ Retton, Hammill most popular American athletes; Wilstein, Steve, Associated Press; 17 May 1993
  15. ^ http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/Content/Athletes/R/Retton-Mary-Lou.aspx[dead link]
  16. ^ "Mary lou retton". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 12, 2007. [dead link]
  17. ^ Niewiaroski, Donna (November 3, 1990). "For Retton, the Gold Still Glitters;Pressure, Time and Change Mature '84 Olympic Gymnastics Champion". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2013.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  18. ^ Wheaties Fun Facts - Wheaties[dead link]
  19. ^ "Mary Lou Retton Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Prowess alone won't get an athlete on Wheaties". Associated Press. December 26, 1987. Retrieved July 30, 2013.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  21. ^ "Retton bio". About.com. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  22. ^ "Mary Lou Retton. She got the gold. Now she's going for platnum." Billboard. 5 Oct. 1985: 5 http://books.google.com/books?id=DCQEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA5&dq=abc%20funfit&pg=PA5#v=onepage&q&f=false
  23. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0394179/
  24. ^ "Mary Lou's Flip Flop Shop." 06 Dec. 2010. http://www.houstonpbs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=prd_flipflopshop[dead link]
  25. ^ a b "Mary Lou's Hip Replacement". Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  26. ^ webmd.com, "Incontinence in Women: Personal Stories". Accessed 3 October 2011.
  27. ^ http://www.biospace.com, "[1]". Accessed 4 October 2011.
  28. ^ Pfizer (2006-09-24). "Pfizer Inc. (PFE) Launches Nationwide Education Campaign With Olympic Gymnast Mary Lou Retton To Raise Awareness Of Overactive Bladder". Biospace. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Patty Sheehan
Flo Hyman Memorial Award
1995
Succeeded by
Donna de Varona