January 31, 2023

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The Sports activities Archives – Gymnastics Greats: Mary Lou Retton

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mary lou retton

The primary American to win the all-round gymnastics medal on the Olympics, together with being one of many biggest 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 season Olympics had been her shining second – the second when Mary Lou confirmed the world what she might do on the gymnastics ground. Other than her all-round gold medal at these video games, she additionally received a few silver and bronze medals for her nation. Solely 4 People have matched Retton’s feat because the 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 somewhat easy childhood. Her dad labored within the coal trade, however her dad and mom had 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 season Olympics on tv, she was mesmerized by the game, and he or she was decided to change into a hit at it. Her first main success got here in 1983, when she received the American Cup and completed second at the USA Nationals. She was unable to contend within the World Championships that very same yr as a result 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 received the American Cup and the U.S. Nationals. Nonetheless, she suffered a knee damage whereas signing autographs throughout considered one of her coaching periods at her native gymnasium. What initially appeared like an innocuous damage became a critical matter, and Mary Lou Retton needed to undergo knee surgical procedure lower than 5 months earlier than the beginning of the Summer season Olympics in 1984!

Perhaps 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 can be a shadow of her former self. Nonetheless, Retton was decided to make an excellent impression, and her coaches and trainers did all the pieces attainable to get her in the precise situation for the video games. And Retton managed to show everybody improper, profitable the general medal and changing into the primary one who was not from Japanese 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 an alternative, she devoted her life to philanthropy, and he or she even dabbled in somewhat 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!

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