MARY LOU RETTON Biography - Famous Sports men and women


Biography » famous sports men and women » mary lou retton


Name: Mary Lou Retton                                                                   
Born: 24 January 1968                                                                   
Mary Lou Retton (born January 24, 1968) is an American gymnast. She was the             
first female gymnast outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic all-around title.       
Mary Lou Retton as a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and         
Retton was born in Fairmont, West Virginia of Italian heritage (her family's           
original surname was "Rotunda"). Her father, Ronnie, operated a coal-industry           
transportation equipment business. Retton is currently married with four               
daughters: Shayla Rae, McKenna Lane, Skyla Brae, and Emma.                             
Retton was born with hip dysplasia, and had a hip replacement. Retton also             
suffered from an overactive bladder, as well as arthritis, and publically spoke         
out about her problems to endorse medication.                                           
Inspired by watching Nadia Comăneci on television, Retton took up gymnastics in       
her hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia. She was coached in her hometown of             
Fairmont by Gary Rafaloski (Aerial Port Gymnastics), She then decided to move to       
Houston, Texas, to train under the Romanians Béla and Marta Károlyi, who had         
coached Nadia Comaneci before their defection to the United States. Under the           
Karolyis, Retton soon began to make a name for herself in the United States,           
winning the American Cup in 1983 and placing second to Dianne Durham (another           
Karolyi student) in the US Nationals in the same year. Retton, however, missed         
the World Championships in 1983 due to a wrist injury. Nevertheless, Retton             
managed to win the American Classic in 1983 and 1984, as well as Japan's               
prestigious Chunichi Cup in 1983.                                                       
After winning her second American Cup and the US Nationals and US Olympic Trials       
in 1984, Retton suffered a knee injury that forced her to undergo an operation.         
However, she recovered just in time for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.       
In the competition - which was boycotted by most of the Soviet bloc nations             
except for Romania - Retton engaged in a close battle with Ecaterina Szabó of         
Romania for the all-around title, to the delight of the patriotic audience.             
Trailing Szabó (after bars and beam) with two events to go, Retton scored             
perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault to win the all-around title by just 0.05.       
At the same Olympics, Retton won four additional medals: a 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" (shared with fellow American Edwin Moses). She appeared on a               
Wheaties box, and became the cereal's first official spokeswoman. Her small             
stature led a wag at SPORT magazine to comment that "Her life-size picture now         
appears on the Wheaties box."