Olympic Games news: Gymnastics legend Mary Lou Retton fighting for her life with rare form of pneumonia

Olympic gold medallist and legendary American gymnast Mary Lou Retton is “fighting for her life” in an intensive care unit battling a rare form of pneumonia, according to a spotfund account set up by her daughter, McKenna Kelley.

According to the post, Retton has been in the ICU for “over a week” and has not been able to “breathe on her own”, as reported by the New York Post.

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“My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life,” Kelley wrote on spotfund.

She did not provide further details out of respect for her mother’s privacy, but did mention that Retton was uninsured. Kelley ended the post by asking for prayer.

Retton, 55, is one of the greatest gymnasts in American history and made her biggest mark on the sport during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

She won five medals during the Summer Games that year, which included gold in the individual all-around competition, a first for any American woman.

Retton, who also took home two silver medals and two bronze medals that year, was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1984 for her accomplishments at those Summer Games.

Her legacy obviously still resonates strongly as the spotfund post sits at US$103,331 ($160,770) at the time of writing from more than 2,000 donors, with the post originally hoping to raise US$50,000.

After her gymnastics career came to a close, Retton appeared in several movies and TV shows, including a 1993 episode of “Baywatch” and the 1994 film “Naked Gun 33 ¹/₃: The Final Insult”.

Retton was also on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Retton was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997 and became the first woman inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2020.

She was inducted into the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

In her hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia, Retton has a street and park named after her.

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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