Former Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton, 55, is “fighting for her life” in hospital with a rare form of pneumonia, her daughter said on social media Tuesday.
Retton, who became one of the United States’ most popular athletes after winning gold for her country at the 1984 Olympics, has been in intensive care for over a week and cannot breathe on her own, her daughters, McKenna Kelley, wrote on a Spot find Page is raising money for her mother’s hospital bills.
“Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not reveal all the details. However, I will disclose that they [is] not insured,” wrote Kelley, who also competed as an NCAA gymnast in college.
The family’s fundraising goal of $50,000 was surpassed Tuesday evening.
When Retton competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she made history by becoming the first American woman to win a gold medal in the individual all-around. She did this as a sophomore, just weeks after undergoing knee surgery. This success earned her the title of Sports Illustrated Magazine’s Female Athlete of the Year and several endorsement deals in the 1990s.
During her competitions, she was known for her “retton flip.” The New York Times called “an affront to gravity” in 1984.
“It begins with her swinging down from the horizontal bar and slamming her hips into the low horizontal bar, immediately doing a front flip that ends when she lands in a sitting position on the horizontal bar — the horizontal bar,” the Times wrote.