Mary Lou Retton’s Pneumonia Battle: Mary Lou Retton, the renowned gymnast whose extraordinary performance at the 1984 Summer Olympics captivated the globe, is currently confronted with a formidable obstacle in the form of an uncommon strain of pneumonia. The lack of health insurance that this Olympic star possesses further renders her ordeal even more extraordinary.
Mary Lou Retton’s Daughter Begs for Assistance
McKenna Kelley, the progeny of Retton, organized a Spotfund crowdfunding initiative with the aim of amassing funds to cover the medical costs of her mother. She confronted her family with the daunting reality in a sincere entreaty. Her mother, who once gracefully and powerfully traversed the skies, is presently dependent on life support devices for respiration.
Notwithstanding the delicate character of the circumstance, the Kelley family elected to expose their predicament to the public. McKenna wrote, “In order to uphold her privacy and show respect, I shall refrain from divulging every detail. Nevertheless, I shall reveal that she lacks insurance coverage.”
Mary Lou Retton’s Pneumonia Battle: An Outpouring of Support
The fundraising campaign commenced with an initial target of $50,000, with the intention of alleviating the financial strain caused by the escalating hospital expenses. Amidst the dissemination of information regarding Mary Lou Retton’s health struggle, an extraordinary outpouring of support emerged. As of the date of this composition, the campaign had accumulated over $109,000 in donations, from which over 2,200 individuals had extended their support.
The campaign is hosted on Spotfund, a platform that permits donors to include text messages with their contributions. Thousands of admirers from around the globe, including countries such as the United States, have expressed their support and affection for the Olympic champion.
Icon of America in Peril
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Mary Lou Retton, who is now 55 years old, made history by claiming the gold medal at the age of 16. The Associated Press reported that she earned two silver and two bronze medals in addition to those already won.
Her triumphs garnered the admiration of a vast audience and established her as an indelible icon of American sports. She maintained the distinction of being the sole American woman to have won the all-around title for a period of two decades. In 2004, Carly Patterson became the second American woman to achieve this distinction, joining her.
Mary Lou Retton pursued an acting career in addition to her gymnastics career, appearing in a number of films and television programs during the 1980s and 1990s. She shifted careers and began delivering motivational speeches, where she advocated for the advantages of healthy eating and regular physical activity. President George W. Bush appointed her to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Mary Lou Retton Health Insurance
The medical struggle of Mary Lou Retton brings attention to a more extensive concern within the United States: the availability and affordability of healthcare. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that, as of the most recent data, approximately 10.2% of the American population below the age of 65 is uninsured. In contrast to affluent countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, the United States has not implemented universal healthcare, either through a single-payer system or a multi-payer system, as do Germany and Australia.
Given the universal recognition of healthcare as a fundamental right, the predicament faced by a national treasure such as Mary Lou Retton, who is unable to afford insurance, prompts significant inquiries. The fundraising campaign initiated by her daughter serves as an illustration of how community support can effectively bridge healthcare system disparities.
How many medals has Mary Lou Retton won at the Olympics?
Retton has earned five Olympic medals. At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, at the age of 16, she became the first American woman to be named Olympic all-around champion. Retton won in dramatic fashion, scoring perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault to defeat Ecaterina Szabo of Romania by 0.05 points despite having knee surgery just six weeks prior to the Olympics.
She also won a silver medal on vault, a bronze medal on uneven bars, and a bronze medal on floor exercise, in addition to a silver medal in the team event.
Retton, whose five Olympic medals in 1984 were the most won by any American athlete, became a national treasure and one of the nation’s most popular athletes. In 1984, she was named Sports Illustrated’s “Sportswoman of the Year.”
She was the only Olympic all-around champion from the United States until Carly Patterson (2004, Athens), Nastia Liukin (2008, Beijing), Gabby Douglas (2012, London), Simone Biles (2016, Rio de Janeiro), and Suni Lee (2021, Tokyo).
When did Mary Lou Retton end her gymnastics career?
After the 1984 Olympic Games, Retton won the 1985 American Cup all-around competition. It was her third and final American Cup victory, having previously won in 1983 and 1984.
Mary Lou Retton children
From 1990 to 2018, Retton was married to former University of Texas quarterback Shannon Kelley. They have four daughters: Shayla, age 28, McKenna, age 26, Skyla, age 23, and Emma, age 21.
Each of her daughters replicated her footsteps. Skyla is a competitive cheerleader, and Emma is currently a member of the University of Arkansas gymnastics team.
Tuesday, McKenna, Retton’s daughter, disclosed her mother’s illness.